The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that no new omicron Covid variants have been identified in the United States.
- "To date, no cases of this variation have been identified in the United States," according to the CDC.
- The newly detected omicron variant, known as lineage B.1.1.529, was first detected in South Africa, raising concerns about the country's Gauteng province's rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
- The World Health Organization has classified it as a "variant of concern."
The CDC reported late Friday that no instances of the new omicron Covid variant had been discovered in the United States so far, referring to a significantly mutated form of the virus that the World Health Organization has categorised as a "variant of concern."
"To date, there have been no reports of this variant in the United States," says the report. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is constantly monitoring variants, and the United States' variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in our country." If Omicron emerges in the United States, we expect it to be identified immediately," it stated.
On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's Weekend TODAY that he "would not be surprised" if the omicron variant is already in the United States.
"We haven't found it yet," Fauci added, "but when you have a virus that's exhibiting this kind of transmissibility and you're already seeing travel-related illnesses in Israel, Belgium, and other places, when you have a virus like this, it's almost invariably going to go practically all over."
Covid strains are only designated as varieties of concern by the UN health agency when they are more transmissible, pathogenic, or adept in evading vaccines and therapies.
The World Health Organization stated, "This variety features a huge number of alterations, some of which are worrying." "Preliminary research suggests that this variant has a higher risk of reinfection than other [variants of concern]." In practically all of South Africa's provinces, the number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing."
Non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other nations in the region were subjected to travel restrictions by the United States on Friday. According to senior Biden administration officials, the limitations will take effect on Monday and are part of a global campaign to combat the spread of omicron.
Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe were all included in the ban.
There was no indication on how long the limitations will be in place.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department issued travel warnings for eight southern African countries on Saturday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upped its travel advisory for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Botswana to "Level Four: Very High," while the State Department issued identical "Do Not Travel" cautions on Saturday. The CDC reduced its COVID-19 travel alert for South Africa to "Level 1: Low" on Monday.