US health officials said on Sunday that while the omicron version of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading across the country, early signs suggest it may be less dangerous than Delta, which continues to garner hospitalizations.
President Joe Biden’s chief mediocre adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that more information is needed before scientists can draw conclusions about Omicron’s severity.
reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggesting hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.
“So far, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of seriousness to this,” Fauci said. “But we have to be really careful before we make any determination whether it’s less severe or that it doesn’t actually cause any more serious illness than Delta.”
Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries. They were planted as an explosion of the Omicron variant in the area, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has blasted measures such as “travel apartheid”.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to lift that restriction in a fairly reasonable amount of time,” Fauci said. “We all feel very bad about the hardship that has been put not only on South Africa but on other African countries as well.”
As of Sunday, Omicron was detected in about a third of US states, including the Northeast, South, Great Plains and West Coast. Wisconsin and Missouri were among the latest states to confirm cases.
But the delta remains the dominant form, making up more than 99% of cases and increasing the number of hospitalizations in the north. National Guard teams have been dispatched to help overcrowded hospitals in western New York, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring any hospital facing limited patient capacity to reduce scheduled procedures. which are not essential.
US officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated and get booster shots, Also take precautions like wearing a mask among strangers indoors, saying anything that helps protect against delta will also help protect against other types.
Even though Omicron may prove less dangerous than Delta, it remains problematic, World Health Organization epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Even if we have a large number of cases that are mild, some of those individuals will need to be hospitalised,” she said. “They will need to go to the 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 more than 780,000 Americans, and deaths are running around 860 per day.
More than 6,600 new hospitalizations are being reported daily, according to tracking data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US have dropped by almost half since the delta peak in August and September, but at more than 86,000 new infections per day, the number is still high, especially over the holidays, when people travel. do and gather with family.