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US Fauci says early reports encouraging about omicron variant

22:57  05 december  2021
22:57  05 december  2021 Source:   msn.com

Omicron Variant: Germany, Czech Republic Report Suspected Cases After U.K. Confirmation

  Omicron Variant: Germany, Czech Republic Report Suspected Cases After U.K. Confirmation Several countries, including the U.S., Japan and Israel, have announced travel restrictions to avoid the mass spread of the latest COVID variant.Germany's Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration said Saturday that an individual who traveled to Germany from South Africa is suspected to be infected with the Omicron variant.

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations.

FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. U.S. health officials said Sunday, Dec. 5 that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden's chief medial adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's “State of the Union” that scientists need more information before drawing conclusion's about omicron's severity. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. U.S. health officials said Sunday, Dec. 5 that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden's chief medial adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's “State of the Union” that scientists need more information before drawing conclusion's about omicron's severity. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Joe Biden's chief medial adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN's “State of the Union” that scientists need more information before drawing conclusion's about omicron's severity.

Scotland Officials Concerned Omicron Variant Has Community Spread as 6 Cases Confirmed

  Scotland Officials Concerned Omicron Variant Has Community Spread as 6 Cases Confirmed Countries throughout the world are taking action to prevent a proliferation of the variant as scientists are still working to determine the danger it poses. Some nations like Japan have decided to block any foreign visitors in an effort to stop the highly mutated variant from entering its borders even as cases began popping up around the globe, AP reported.For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.New cases in Portugal and Scotland might already point toward local spread of the variant outside of southern Africa.

Reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.

“Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said. “But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.”

Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries. They were imposed as the omicron variant exploded in the region, but U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has blasted such measures as “travel apartheid."

“Hopefully we’ll be able to lift that ban in a quite reasonable period of time,” Fauci said. “We all feel very badly about the hardship that has been put on not only on South Africa but the other African countries.”

Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about the new Omicron variant

  Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about the new Omicron variant Americans face at least two weeks of uncertainty before major questions may get answered about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. © Steve Pfost/Newsday/Getty Images Stony Brook, N.Y.: Robert Baird, of Centereach, New York is given a booster shot as members of the community are administered the COVID-19 vaccination and booster at Stony Brook University Research and Development Park in Stony Brook, New York on Nov. 17, 2021.

Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday, including in the Northeast, the South, the Great Plains and the West Coast. Wisconsin and Missouri were among the latest states to confirm cases.

But delta remains the dominant variant, making up more than 99% of cases and driving a surge of hospitalizations in the north. National Guard teams have been sent to help overwhelmed hospitals in western New York, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring any hospitals facing limited patient capacity to reduce scheduled procedures that are not urgent.

U.S. officials continued urging people to get vaccinated and to receive booster shots, as well as take precautions such as wearing masks when among strangers indoors, saying anything that helps protect against delta will also help protect against other variants.

Even if omicron proves less dangerous than delta, it remains problematic, World Health Organization epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove told CBS' “Face The Nation.”

How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say.

  How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say. The new omicron variant presents more questions (and uncertainty) than answers. And it will take a few weeks for data to be collected and tracked.The answer to all three is an unsatisfying “We don’t know yet.

“Even if we have a large number of cases that are mild, some of those individuals will need hospitalizations,” she said. “They will need to go into ICU and some people will die. ... We don’t want to see that happen on top of an already difficult situation with delta circulating globally.”

Two years into the outbreak, COVID-19 has killed over 780,000 Americans, and deaths are running at about 860 per day.

More than 6,600 new hospital admissions are being reported daily, according to tracking data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. have dropped by about half since the delta peak in August and September, but at more than 86,000 new infections per day, the numbers are still high, especially heading into the holidays, when people travel and gather with family.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Rhode Island reports first case of omicron variant .
Rhode Island has reported its first case of the omicron variant, making it one of the dozens of states to have detected the new COVID-19 strain. Gov. Dan McKee (D) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced the omicron case in a joint statement on Saturday. The infected individual is in their 20s and recently traveled from New York to Providence, according to the statement. The individual was fully vaccinated, but did not have a booster shot. "We fully expected that Omicron would eventually be detected in Rhode Island as it has been in our neighboring states. I want to be clear: Rhode Island is prepared. This is not cause for panic," McKee said. Video: U.K.

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