The newly discovered variant is already rapidly spreading across the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control has made a new prediction about the newly detected Omicron variant that’s continuing to spread across the country at an alarming rate. We break down what you need to know below.
First, what’s the CDC saying?
Dr. Walensky says Omicron might become the dominant variant, but Delta remains a big concern as thousands of cases are being diagnosed each day.
“We now have about 86,000 cases of Covid right now in the United States being diagnosed daily, and 99.9% of them, the vast majority of them, continue to be Delta,” she told ABC’s “This Week.”
What do we know about Omicron?
While the variant has more mutations than previous variants, the CDC says it’s not yet clear how transmissible Omicron is or how effective existing vaccines are in fighting it.
But two separate studies are showing that it could be very contagious. U.S. researchers found in a new study that the Omicron could be more infectious than other variants because it shares genetic code with common cold coronavirus. Similarly, in a separate study, scientists in South Africa found that the new variant is about twice as transmissible as Delta.
Where has the variant been detected?
The variant was first detected in California before spreading to 16 other states, including New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Colorado. Georgia is now the latest state to report a case after a resident recently traveled to South Africa, where the variant was first detected.
What’s being done about it?
Moderna is currently working on an Omicron-specific booster, and could be ready as soon as March. But Dr. Walensky remains “hopeful” that current vaccines will prevent severe cases and keep people out of the hospital.
As far as what the next six months could look like, Dr. Walensky believes that could all depend on how the public mobilizes together. She emphasized that it’s especially important for people to get their booster shot because the more mutations a variant has, the more immunity a person needs to protect themselves from infection.