US:The COVID-19 Omicron variant has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version remains the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday.
Though the emergence of the new variant has caused alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told CNN “thus far it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” He added that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions and that more study is needed.
Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, said he also hoped the United States would lift its ban on travelers from southern African countries in a “reasonable period of time.” The South African government has complained it is being punished – instead of applauded – for discovering the new variant and quickly informing international health officials.
At least 16 U.S. states have reported Omicron cases: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.
Many of the cases were among fully vaccinated individuals with mild symptoms, although the booster shot status of some patients was not reported. Despite several dozen Omicron cases, the Delta variant still accounts for 99.9% of new COVID cases in the United States, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC News in an interview.
Meanwhile, A further 86 cases of the Omicron COVID variant have been reported in Britain, taking the total to 246, British health authorities confirmed Sunday.
This compares with a total of 160 on Saturday, an increase of more than 50 per cent, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Meanwhile, The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread in Australia as a cluster in Sydney grew with at least 15 cases across New South Wales and an infection was suspected in the state of Queensland.
New South Wales (NSW) health authorities have said as many as five people in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, have contracted the Omicron variant locally.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Sunday the Omicron cases are linked to two schools and a climbing gym in Sydney’s western suburbs, which may also be the source of a confirmed new variant infection in the Australian Capital Territory.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES