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No instances of latest omicron Covid variant within the U.S. have been detected, CDC says

Pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine sit on a desk at Nationwide Jewish Well being on Nov. 3, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Ciaglo | Getty Photos Information

The U.S. has not discovered any instances of the brand new omicron Covid variant to this point, the CDC stated late Friday, referring to a closely mutated pressure of the virus that has been labeled as a “variant of concern” by the World Well being Group.

“No instances of this variant have been recognized within the U.S. to this point,” in response to the assertion by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

“CDC is repeatedly monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants on this nation. We count on Omicron to be recognized shortly, if it emerges within the U.S.,” it stated.

Nonetheless, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, instructed NBC’s Weekend TODAY present on Saturday that he “wouldn’t be shocked” if the omicron variant is already within the U.S.

“Now we have not detected it but, however when you’ve got a virus that’s displaying this diploma of transmissibility and also you’re already having travel-related instances that they’ve famous in Israel and Belgium and different locations, when you’ve got a virus like this, it nearly invariably is finally going to go primarily throughout,” Fauci stated.

The newly recognized pressure — known as lineage B.1.1.529 — was first detected in South Africa and raised issues as a result of speedy rise within the variety of coronavirus instances within the nation’s Gauteng province.

The UN well being company solely designates Covid strains as variants of concern after they’re extra transmissible, extra virulent or more proficient at evading vaccines and therapeutics.

“This variant has a lot of mutations, a few of that are regarding,” the World Well being Group stated. “Preliminary proof suggests an elevated danger of reinfection with this variant, as in comparison with different [variants of concern]. The variety of instances of this variant seems to be growing in nearly all provinces in South Africa.”

CNBC Well being & Science

The U.S. on Friday imposed journey restrictions for non-U.S. residents from South Africa and 7 different international locations within the area. The restrictions will start on Monday, and are a part of international efforts to blunt the unfold of omicron, in response to senior Biden administration officers.

The opposite international locations included within the ban have been Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

There was no indication of how lengthy the restrictions shall be in place.

On Saturday, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention and State Division suggested towards journey to eight southern African international locations.

The CDC raised its journey advice to “Stage 4: Very Excessive” for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana, whereas the State Division issued parallel “Do Not Journey” advisories Saturday. On Monday, the CDC had lowered its COVID-19 journey advisory for South Africa to “Stage 1: Low.”

—CNBC’s Christina Wilkie and Reuters contributed to this report.

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