The world has been set upside down by the spread of a new COVID-19 variant labeled by the WHO as Omicron. It was first discovered in South Africa less than a month ago. As recently as yesterday, it had been discovered in 38 countries.
Among the major concerns about the Omicron variant is that it could spread more quickly than the Delta variant which has spread rapidly around the world over the last several months. The Washington Post reports: “While much remains unknown about omicron, health experts are worried that its many mutations could make it far more transmissible than variants such as delta.”
Another critical issue is the extent to which current vaccines protect against the new variant. There is one school of thought new versions of vaccines will need to be created to offer better protection, which will be especially necessary if the Omicron variant spreads rapidly.
The CDC takes the arrival of the Omicron variant seriously. It recently tightening testing times for people traveling internationally. And, the threat of the Omicron variant inside the U.S. is already real. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser, told Bloomberg: “There is no way you are not going to see more and more cases.”
The Hill has done an analysis of which states have officially announced Omicron variant cases. These are California, Colorado, Georgia, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
This list is likely to grow by several states per day. And, by the arrival of the holidays, it is likely to be in all 50.
According to our own 24/7 Wall St. research:
It has now been 50 weeks since the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine were sent out to states, kicking off the largest vaccination campaign in human history. As of December 2, 578,263,565 doses of the vaccine have been sent out across the country — equivalent to 176.2% of the U.S. population.
Some trends by state are troubling. In West Virginia, only 62.4% of the available vaccine doses have been administered. That contrasts to 88.3% in Minnesota, the state with the highest rate.