Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states

The new omicron coronavirus variant has been found in at least 10 U.S. states a little over a week after the strain was discovered in southern Africa. 

The variant has been found in Maryland, Utah, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, California, Hawaii and Nebraska. 

It is likely the new variant is in other states as well, as the U.S. continues to conduct tests.

The first case was discovered Wednesday in California, in a person who recently traveled to South Africa. 

New York has the most omicron cases discovered so far, with five announced on Thursday by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

Scientists are still working to answer many questions about the new variant, including how transmissible it is and how effective the vaccines are against it. 

Omicron has caused panic around the world due to the more than 30 different mutations it has compared to previous coronavirus strains. 

Many countries, including the U.S., have put travel bans in place from southern African countries to try to mitigate the spread of Omicron. But omicron has been found in dozens of countries around the world despite travel bans and new flight restrictions put in place.

The World Health Organization and some scientists have condemned the travel bans, saying they are harmful and unproductive. 

President Biden has indicated the U.S. will not go back into lockdowns due to the omicron variant and instead focus on the vaccination campaign. 

Tags COVID-19 pandemic in Botswana Joe Biden Kathy Hochul SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant Variants of SARS-CoV-2

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