US health officials said on Sunday that although the omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the country, early signs indicate that it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge in hospitalizations.
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union Address” that scientists need more information before they can draw conclusions about the severity of omicron.
Reports from South Africa, Where it appears And it is becoming the main strain, indicating that the hospitalization rate has not increased dramatically.
Fauci said: “So far, it doesn’t look serious.” “But before we make any decision that is less serious than delta or does not cause any serious disease, we really have to be cautious. “
Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions on non-citizens entering the United States from several African countries. They were imposed when the omicron variant exploded in the area, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attacked measures such as “travel apartheid”.
“I hope we can lift the ban within a fairly reasonable time,” Fauci said. “We are all very sad about the difficulties not only for South Africa but for other African countries.”
As of Sunday, Omicron has been found in approximately one-third of the states in the United States, including the Northeast, South, Great Plains, and West Coast. Wisconsin and Missouri are among the states with the latest confirmed cases.
But delta is still the main variant, accounting for more than 99% of cases and driving a surge in hospitalizations in the north. The National Guard has been dispatched to overwhelmed hospitals in western New York, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring any hospital facing limited patient capacity to reduce non-urgent scheduled procedures.
U.S. officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated and receive booster shots, And take precautions, such as wearing a mask when you are indoors with strangers, saying that anything that helps prevent delta will also help prevent other variants.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that even if omicron is proven to be free of delta hazards, it still has problems.
“Even if we have a large number of mild cases, some of them will need to be hospitalized,” she said. “They need to enter the intensive care unit, and some people will die. … We don’t want to see this happen in the difficult situation of delta circulation on a global scale.”
Two years after the outbreak, COVID-19 has killed more than 780,000 Americans and approximately 860 people die every day.
According to tracking data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6,600 new hospital admissions are reported every day.
Since the delta peak in August and September, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States has dropped by about half, but the number of new infections per day exceeds 86,000, which is still high, especially before the holidays when people travel and party Time with family.
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