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Early Observations on Omicron Indicate Reduced Severity

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Early Observations on Omicron Indicate Reduced Severity

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Ever since emerging in South Africa a few weeks back, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has swiftly become the primary variant in the region, overtaking the Delta variant. Nevertheless, even as the virus continues to spread and cause some hospitalizations, there is a positive development: there doesn’t appear to be any significant surge in hospitalizations. This indicates that while Omicron retains its contagious nature, potentially more so than Delta, its impact on individuals’ health might actually be mitigated.

Sharing his insights with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President, remarked, “At this point, it doesn’t seem to exhibit a high level of severity. However, we must exercise caution before concluding that it is less severe or causes less serious illnesses compared to Delta.”

Once additional assessments on Omicron are completed, the United States could consider lifting travel restrictions imposed on some African nations, provided that standard COVID precautions are upheld. Fauci expressed optimism, saying, “Hopefully, we can lift this restriction within a reasonable timeframe. We empathize with the challenges faced not just by South Africa but by other African countries as well.”

As of yesterday, instances of COVID-19 attributed to Omicron have been identified in about one-third of the United States, with Delta still being the prevailing strain. Medical experts are urging the public to exercise vigilance by maintaining their vaccination regimen and mask-wearing habits, as although Omicron may be milder, it can still lead to severe cases of COVID-19 necessitating hospitalization.

Speaking to CBS, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization, emphasized, “Even if we have numerous mild cases, some individuals may still require hospitalization. They might need intensive care and unfortunately, some may not survive. … We do not wish to witness such outcomes atop the existing challenges posed by the Delta variant’s global circulation.”

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