Story at a glance

  • South African health officials said Wednesday the omicron variant accounts for most new cases of COVID-19 in the country.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier Wednesday that the omicron variant had reached 23 countries prior to the detection of the first case in the U.S.
  • White House medical advisor Anthony Fauci told reporters following the first confirmed case in California it was only a matter of time before the variant reached the U.S.

South African health officials said Wednesday the omicron variant accounts for most new cases of COVID-19 in the country. 

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases announced that around 75 percent of 249 positive test samples that were genetically examined were tied to the new variant, The New York Times reported

South Africa reported 8,561 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, nearly doubling the number of cases the day before. The country has now recorded nearly 3 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier Wednesday that the omicron variant had reached 23 countries prior to the detection of the first case in the U.S. in California. Omicron spread should not be surprising, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing. 

“This is what viruses do,” Tedros said. “And it’s what this virus will continue to do, as long as we allow it to continue spreading.”


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White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci told reporters following the first confirmed case in California it was only a matter of time before the variant reached the U.S. Meanwhile, Fauci continued to encourage vaccinations and boosters as the best defense against omicron. 

Currently, around 75 percent of the U.S. population aged 5 or older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. 


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Published on Dec 01, 2021