Omicron variant found in almost one-third of U.S. states

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WASHINGTON — The Omicron version of the coronavirus has actually infected about one-third of U.S. states, however the Delta variation stays most of COVID-19 cases across the country, U.S. health authorities stated on Sunday.

Though the introduction of the brand-new version has actually triggered alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. contagious illness authorities, informed CNN “thus far it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it” however he included that it was prematurely to draw conclusive conclusions and more research study is required.

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Fauci likewise hoped the United States would raise its restriction on tourists from southern African nations in a “reasonable period of time.” The South African federal government has actually grumbled it is being penalized – rather of praised – for finding the brand-new version and rapidly notifying worldwide health authorities.

Fauci applauded South Africa for its openness and stated the U.S. travel restriction was enforced at a time “when we were really in the dark” and required time to study the version.

“We all feel very badly about the hardship that that might have put upon not only South Africa but the other African countries,” he included on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

A minimum of 15 U.S. states have actually reported Omicron cases: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.

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Much of the cases were amongst totally immunized people with moderate signs, although the booster shot status of some clients was not understood.

Regardless of numerous lots Omicron cases, the Delta version still represents 99.9% of the 90,000 to 100,000 brand-new cases of COVID every day in the United States https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky informed ABC News in an interview.

“We are everyday hearing about more and more probable cases so that number is likely to rise,” she stated.

Louisiana’s Department of Health stated on Saturday that a Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd cruise liner set to dock in New Orleans with more than 3,000 travelers has actually discovered 10 cases of COVID-19 on board.

The Norwegian Breakaway left New Orleans on Nov. 28 and had drop in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, authorities stated, including everybody on board would be evaluated and offered with post-exposure and quarantine public health assistance by the CDC.

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COVID-19 vaccine makers are seeking to rapidly modify their shots to target Omicron and U.S. regulators have actually sworn quick evaluations, however that might still take months.

“Certainly, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will move swiftly and CDC will move swiftly,” Walensky stated.

Moderna Inc has stated it might look for U.S. approval for an upgraded vaccine as quickly as March, however business authorities in tv interviews on Sunday stated it still require time to increase output.

Moderna Co-founder and Chairman Noubar Afeyan informed CNN it would take another 7 to 10 days to collect crucial Omicron information. Then, it “will take a good 60 to 100 days” to release an Omicron-specific shot, although other alternatives like a greater dosage of the existing booster are being checked out, he stated.

U.S. federal government authorities are likewise working with vaccine makers Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson on upgraded shots.

Pfizer and Merck & Co Inc are likewise pursuing COVID-19 tablet treatments.

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and Susan Heavey; Modifying by Lisa Shumaker)

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.