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Amid the rising concern of the novel COVID-19 variant omicron around the world, United States health officials stated on Tuesday that new research shows Omicron has enhanced infectivity rather than a "severe profile". During a virtual White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted while talking about transmissibility that there is molecular information to demonstrate that the mutations observed in Omicron and other variations are connected with greater infectivity.
"Real-world evidence is accumulating rapidly - literally on a daily basis - to allow us to determine the increase in cases, possible increase in reproductive number and the rapid replacement of Delta by Omicron in certain situations," CNN quoted Dr Fauci. He further stated that it is still too soon to identify the exact degree of the illness caused by the Omicron version.
The novel COVID-19 variant was originally reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 25 by South Africa. According to the WHO, the first verified B.1.1.529 infection was discovered in a sample obtained on November 9 of this year. The novel COVID-19 variation B.1.1.529 was given the name 'Omicron' by the WHO on November 26. Omicron is a 'variant of concern,' World Health Organization stated.
Furthermore, Dr Fauci pointed to data from South Africa, and said, "It appears that with the cases that are seen, we are not seeing a very severe profile of the disease." According to South African research, patients who have previously been infected with other coronavirus types, such as Beta and Delta, have a higher risk of reinfection with Omicron, he added. He predicted that the world will hear more about the Omicron variation in the coming weeks. Because of the large number of cases, the majority of the data on the severity will probably come from South Africa initially.
During the briefing, Dr Fauci told CNN, despite the seriousness, and the fact that hospitalisation and mortality are typically lagging signs, he expects that it would take another couple of weeks to understand and handle things better. “So, I would say we shouldn't be making any definitive conclusions, certainly not before the next couple of weeks," he highlighted.
According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 15 states in the US have found the omicron variety as of Sunday, and the number is anticipated to climb. Further, the overall caseload of coronavirus crossed 50,270,263 on December 8, with the number of fatalities are 812,186.