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Coronavirus Watch

Omicron Could Become the Dominant US Variant

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN that ‘the new Omicron variant could eventually become the dominant strain and scientists are still trying to understand how it behaves — but the biggest concern right now is the dominant Delta variant’.

“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 — and we know what we need to do against Delta, and that is get vaccinated, get boosted if you’re eligible and continue all of those prevention measures including masking. And those are very likely to work against the Omicron variant.”

– Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC (source: CNN)

During the CNN interview, Dr Walensky added:

  • “What we do know is that early data, and even mutation data are telling us that this may well be a more transmissible variant than Delta. And so … this is gonna take some time to sort out.
  • “It is helpful to understand that this person had mild symptoms that have, to my understanding, resolved pretty swiftly. So it this may very well be actually a story of vaccines success, and not necessarily one of vaccine failure,” Dr. Walensky said referring to Minnesota Omicron case.
  • “If you have previously had infection, you will definitely be more protected if you also get a vaccine, and that’s really the goal here, is to try to provide the most amount of protection as possible so people will be protected against severe disease and ideally against infection altogether.”
Omicron: What we know
  • Nearly a dozen omicron cases have been detected around the United States. Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New York and Hawaii were the latest to announce infections, joining California, Minnesota and Colorado.
  • The Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded its emergency use authorization for two monoclonal antibodies to treat young children and babies at high risk of severe covid-19 who have tested positive or been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • All international travelers must take a coronavirus test one day before their flight to the United States, starting Dec. 6. Domestic travelers will be required to wear masks on airplanes, trains, buses and other transportation through March 18.
  • Scientists in South Africa say the risk of infection by the omicron coronavirus variant is at least three times higher than from variants such as beta and delta, according to a preprint study published Thursday.

Source: The Washington Post Dec 3 Coronavirus updates

Omicron may be more transmissible

According to Dr Walensky, the Omicron coronavirus variant, it “may be a more transmissible variant than Delta,” but further research and time is required to reveal specific details.

“What we do know is that early data and even mutation data are telling us that this may well be a more transmissible variant than Delta. And so this is going to take some time to sort out. We are prepared, though; we are doing genomic sequencing in all of the states, but it may very well be that we start to see more Omicron than we have Delta. And we will be following that very carefully.”

– Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta

“I think is really important to understand here is the more mutations you have in a variant, the more you would like to bolster your immunity to have as much immunity as possible to overcome that variant. And so what we know now, with the Omicron variant, is more immunity will be better,” added Dr. Walensky.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Dec 4, 9 a.m.) 581,107,805 doses have been distributed and 468,516,782 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Dec 1) a total of 7,938,605 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Dec 3) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 926,931 (out of 15,063,685 tested) with 9,616 deaths.