Well-Being

Omicron variant makes up an estimated 13 percent of cases in NY, NJ: CDC

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Story at a glance

  • The highly transmissible strain has been reported in 75 countries and at least 36 states, making up about 3 percent of cases in the U.S.
  • “In some areas of the country, estimates of omicron are even higher, including in New York and New Jersey, where CDC projects that omicron could represent about 13 percent of all cases,” Walensky said.
  • Early data has suggested the variant may be more resistant to vaccines but causes less severe disease.

The omicron variant is spreading at faster rates in New York and New Jersey and appears to be more transmissible than the dominant delta variant — with a doubling time of about two days, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said Wednesday. 

During a White House COVID-19 news briefing, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the highly transmissible strain has been reported in 75 countries and at least 36 states, making up about 3 percent of cases in the U.S. 

“In some areas of the country, estimates of omicron are even higher, including in New York and New Jersey, where CDC projects that omicron could represent just about 13 percent of all cases,” Walensky said. 

“In looking at early data on transmissibility of omicron from other countries, we expect to see the proportion of omicron cases here in the United States continue to grow in the coming weeks,” Walensky said. 


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Early data has suggested the variant may be more resistant to vaccines but causes less severe disease. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot appear to remain largely protected against severe illness and death from omicron. 

“Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said during a news briefing. “At this point there is no need for a variant-specific booster.” 

Just about 1 in 4 fully vaccinated Americans has received a booster dose so far, according to CDC data, although the number is higher among the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to severe disease. 


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