Omicron: The newest covid-19 variant

While little is still known about the highly-mutated covid variant, it is believed to be less severe than the Delta strain according to preliminary evidence.

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According to the South Africa Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, scientists say that there are about 50 different mutations. For reference, the Delta variant had about nine mutations in it’s genome.

First detected in South Africa, a new highly-mutated variant of the covid-19 strain named Omicron, was discovered on Nov. 14, 2021.

On Dec. 1, 2021, the first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified. As of Dec. 10, 2021, nearly 57 countries have at least one reported case. Within the United States, 20 states have reported cases of the Omicron variant. L.A. County has six confirmed cases.

Little is about how easily it spreads, the severity of illness it causes or how well available vaccines, however, current vaccines are expected to be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated, and for those already vaccinated, to get a booster shot.