CDC has not yet detected Omicron variant in US, but Fauci says it’s likely already here

As of Friday, the CDC has said that they have not detected any cases of the new coronavirus variant, the Omicron variant, in the United States. However, Dr. Fauci has stated that it is likely the variant has already made its way to the States (The Daily Beast).

Fauci told Weekend Today, “we have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve noted in Israel and Belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over.”

The CDC has said that they will be able to detect the variant when it arrives. This variant is a concern to epidemiologists because of the significant change seen, as they have found more than 30 mutations in the spike protein. Epidemiology Katelyn Jeteline wrote, “this is an insane amount of change. As a comparison, Delta had 9 changes on the spike protein.” The variant has spread from Africa to Europe and will continue to spread.

In response to this new variant, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has declared a state of emergency, according to the Washington Post. New York has become the first state in the country to take action against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The state of emergency will allow the health department to limit nonessential care through January 15th to protect hospital capacity. Hospitals with less than 10 percent staffed bed capacity will be allowed to screen patients and restrict hospital admissions.

The New York Governor is also urging New Yorkers to wear masks in indoor public areas, get vaccinated, and stay home if ill. New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams said, “this is a concerning development that we must watch extremely closely, and be prepared to address as a city, state, and country. Our health officials must… have response options available should it prove to be significantly more virulent.”

U.S. health officials have stated they are on alert as a result of the impending arrival of the Omicron variant and rising COVID-19 infections during the holiday season.

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