Phill Magakoe/AFP through Getty Pictures
No less than two folks in the UK have the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the nation’s well being secretary introduced.
The instances are linked and contain journey to southern Africa, the place the newest variant was first recognized, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Saturday. The people are isolating at dwelling.
Circumstances have additionally cropped up in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel throughout a comparatively quick time frame.
Within the U.S., the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention up to now has not recognized any instances of the fast-spreading omicron pressure, which was first detected in South Africa on Nov. 24. The vaccination price in South Africa is roughly 35%.
The omicron variant is the primary new variant of concern because the delta variant that swept via the world earlier this summer time, inflicting an uptick in infections and deaths, notably among the many unvaccinated inhabitants. The delta pressure was twice as infectious as the unique COVID-19 virus.
Scientists race to reply questions on new variant
Whereas there are a variety of research underway to proceed evaluating the omicron variant, the World Well being Group says the variety of mutations on this variant is “regarding” and that it might recommend an “elevated danger of reinfection.”
The WHO additionally says that present COVID-19 assessments are able to figuring out this omicron variant, which is how authorities have been capable of monitor how quickly the variant is spreading. However additional info and research on the variant might take “days to weeks,” health officials from WHO said.
Precisely how briskly the variant is spreading and whether or not the present vaccines accessible can forestall an infection are nonetheless unclear. However Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, advised NPR: “Let me be clear, there isn’t any information nowadays to point that the present vaccines wouldn’t work.”
Within the meantime, folks ought to proceed to take steps to decrease their publicity to an infection and scale back the unfold of the virus, the WHO urges. This contains mask-wearing and getting the vaccine when it is your flip to take action.
Collins additionally recommends that people who find themselves six months out from being absolutely vaccinated get their booster shot.
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