A further six U.S. states confirmed their first case of the Covid-19 omicron variant on Friday, when experts warned that the highly contagious delta variant is likely to remain the biggest threat as winter sets in.
New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah all reported omicron cases, while New York City officials reached out to a man who tested positive for the variant and had attended an anime conference at a Manhattan convention center last year. month along with more than 50,000 people.
Five other participants have also been infected with coronavirus, although officials were unsure what variant they had.
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Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC Nightly News that there were about 90,000 new cases a day in the United States, and “right now, 99.9 percent of them are still the delta variant.”
But she said a number of omicron cases had arrived in the country and it was possible that more could follow.
Although this is not currently the case, Walensky said “it may well be that omicron is able to outperform the delta,” although the CDC had not yet seen “any symptoms unique to omicron”, and it was “too early to tell in the form of increased difficulty. ”
Omicron cases have now been detected in 38 different countries since it was first detected in southern Africa late last month, the World Health Organization said on Friday. No deaths have been attributed to the new variant, it added.
In Australia, some states have tightened their domestic border controls following a cluster of omicron cases in Sydney grew to 13 and there was a suspicion of an infection in the state of Queensland.
Meanwhile, South Korea reported 5,352 new infections and 70 deaths on Saturday, the highest number of new daily cases so far. It has also confirmed nine total cases of the omicron variant, according to health authorities.
India also reported its third omicron case as its total number of Covid-19 infections grew close to 35 million.
There are also fears of an omicron outbreak in Israel, where seven new cases and 27 suspected cases of the new variant were reported on Friday.
In Brazil, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro canceled New Year’s Eve after the country confirmed the first known cases of the variant in South America’s largest country.
In Africa, Zambia also discovered its first cases in three people, the country’s health ministry said on Saturday.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical director at Covid-19, called on countries to re-evaluate their vaccination programs to ensure that their most vulnerable people are vaccinated against coronavirus to catch up with the spread of omicron.
“We do not know how it will develop. What we are asking countries to do now is critically assess their situation, ”she said during a question-and-answer session livestream on the WHO’s Facebook page on Friday.
She added that countries should be “aggressive” towards early cases to stem the spread of the new variant.
Associated Press and Reuters the contribution.