Healthcare

CDC director says most US omicron infections mild so far

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a new interview that reported cases of the new omicron variant in the U.S. have been relatively mild. 

“The disease is mild,” Rochelle Walensky told The Associated Press, adding that symptoms from the variant include cough, congestion and fatigue.

CDC officials have said that no deaths have been reported from omicron and only one person has been hospitalized thus far, the AP noted.

Among the over 40 cases of omicron in the U.S., more than 75 percent of the people infected were vaccinated. Most of those infected were young adults, and roughly a third of them had traveled internationally, the news service added.  

In her interview, Walensky also said that about a third of those infected with the new variant had received booster shots. 

“What we generally know is the more mutations a variant has, the higher level you need your immunity to be. … We want to make sure we bolster everybody’s immunity. And that’s really what motivated the decision to expand our guidance,” Walensky said of the decision to approve boosters for all adults.

“When I look to what the future holds, so much of that is definitely about the science, but it’s also about coming together as a community to do things that prevent disease in yourself and one another. And I think a lot of what our future holds depends on how we come together to do that,” she added.

The CDC has been analyzing the new variant since omicron was first identified last month in South Africa, but data at this point is fairly limited. Last week, omicron accounted for less than 1 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., while the delta variant accounted for 99 percent of cases, the AP added.

Tags Rochelle Walensky
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