Omicron Covid variant has spread to more than 50 countries and 19 U.S. states, CDC director says

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The omicron Covid-19 variant that has prompted international journey restrictions and recent vaccine mandates since its discovery in southern Africa final month has now been present in 50 nations and 19 states throughout the U.S., CDC Director Rochelle Walensky mentioned Tuesday.

“Whereas we’re nonetheless working to know the severity of omicron in addition to the way it responds to therapeutics and vaccines, we anticipate that the entire similar measures will at the very least, partly, present some safety in opposition to omicron,” Walensky mentioned throughout a White Home Covid-19 press briefing, reiterating her name to get vaccinated.

Jeff Zients, who’s main the White Home’s Covid response efforts, mentioned vaccinations have surged with roughly 12.5 million pictures administered during the last week — 7 million of which had been booster pictures.

“That is the best weekly whole variety of pictures since Could,” he mentioned. “So we’re now vaccinating folks in numbers we have not seen for the reason that spring.”

White Home chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned scientists ought to have some knowledge by the center of subsequent week that reveals how nicely at present’s vaccines stand as much as the brand new variant, which accommodates dozens of mutations that usually make it extra contagious.

“We’ll be capable to decide whether or not or not antibodies induced by all vaccines lose their functionality of effectiveness with omicron,” Fauci mentioned of research taking a look at each dwell virus and “pseudo virus.” “As well as, we’re doing animal research to judge immune safety in addition to efficacy of antivirals.”

He mentioned “actual world proof” in epidemiology and scientific research will definitively reply how transmissible and extreme the virus is in addition to whether or not or not it may evade vaccines.

Fauci pointed to a chart that confirmed a seven-day rolling common of confirmed omicron instances per 1 million folks in South Africa, noting that it’s now the dominant variant circulating within the nation. “The virtually vertical inflection of this clearly argues in direction of a excessive diploma of transmissibility, he mentioned.

This story is breaking. Test again for updates.

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