While the omicron variation of the coronavirus is swiftly spreading throughout the US, early signs show it may be less deadly than the delta variety, which is nonetheless causing an increase in hospitalizations, according to US health experts.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s senior medical adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that experts need more data before reaching judgments on the severity of omicron.
According to reports from South Africa, where it first arose and is now the dominant strain, hospitalization rates have not risen drastically.
“From what I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t appear to be very serious,” Fauci added. “However, we must exercise extreme caution before concluding that it is less severe or that it does not induce serious sickness in the same way that delta does.”
According to Fauci, the Biden administration is contemplating easing travel restrictions for non-citizens from numerous African nations. They were implemented as the omicron form exploded in the region, but United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called them “travel apartheid.”
“Hopefully, in a fair amount of time, we’ll be able to rescind that prohibition,” Fauci added. “We all feel terrible about the hardships that have been imposed not just on South Africa, but also on the rest of Africa.”
By Sunday, Omicron has been found in almost a third of US states, including the Northeast, South, Great Plains, and West Coast. Cases have been confirmed in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Louisiana, among other states.
However, delta continues to be the most common form, accounting for more than 99 percent of cases and generating an increase in hospitalizations in the north. National Guard troops have been dispatched to assist overburdened hospitals in western New York, while Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order mandating hospitals with limited patient capacity to decrease non-urgent treatments.
Officials in the United States have continued to urge individuals to be vaccinated and booster doses, as well as to take measures like as wearing masks while indoors with strangers, claiming that anything that protects against delta would also protect against other forms.
Even though omicron is less harmful than delta, World Health Organization epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that it is still an issue.
“Even if we have a huge number of mild cases, some of those people will need to be hospitalized,” she added. “They’ll have to go into intensive care, and some people will die.” We don’t want it to happen on top of a terrible scenario with delta moving over the world.”
COVID-19 has killed nearly 780,000 Americans in just two years, with an average of 860 fatalities 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.
The number of cases and deaths in the United States has declined by approximately half since the delta’s height in August and September, but the numbers are still high, with more over 86,000 new infections every day, especially as we approach the holidays, when people travel and congregate with family.