Omicron Covid variant in 15 states and the likelihood of an increase in the number of cases

Dr. Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee hearing entitled “Next Steps: A Road to COVID-19 Response” at the Dirksen Building on Thursday 4 November. , 2021

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in at least 15 states and that number is expected to rise, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walenski told ABC News on Sunday.

“We know that we have several dozen cases and we are following them closely. And we hear more and more probable cases every day, so this number is likely to grow, ”Walensky said on This Week.

The variant, first discovered in South Africa, has several mutations in the spike protein that allows the virus to enter the body, and some of these mutations can lead to increased antibody resistance and transmissibility. Scientists are still collecting data on the virus and the effectiveness of current Covid-19 vaccines.

After it was discovered in several other countries, the US reported its first omicron case on December 1. While some of the patients have recently traveled to southern Africa, others have not. This suggests that transmission of the virus in the community continues.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus to the United States, officials first restricted travel for non-US citizens from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a senior US infectious disease official, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that he hoped the ban could be lifted within a “reasonable time frame.”

However, the vast majority of US cases are still caused by the deltoid variant.

“We now have 90 to 100,000 cases per day in the US, and 99.9% of them are delta,” Walenski said.

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