Omicron Variant discovered, has since spread to the United States

Priya Kommu, Staff Writer

The Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa near the end of November. The Omicron variant, whose initial name was B.1.1.529, was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, 2021. The discovery of the variant has led to several countries instituting travel restrictions and bans. Based on the research of the variant shows that it may contain many mutations and has a higher risk of reinfection. 

Within the week of the variant being discovered in South Africa, there were cases reported across the rest of Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

Recently, the Omicron variant has been discovered in the several U.S. States. Cases have been discovered in California, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, and Hawaii, as well as many other states. 

Currently, the information that is known about the Omicron variant is as follows: the Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but it is still unknown if it spreads more easily than the Delta variant. The vaccine will protect against severe cases caused by the Omicron variant, but breakthrough infections should still be expected in people who are fully vaccinated. Treatments already exist for other COVID-19 infections, but some treatments are likely to be more effective than others. 

However, there are still several questions that need to be answered. Health officials urge people to continue wearing masks, get vaccinated, and get the booster.