Omicron Now Accounts For 3% Of U.S. Covid Cases — 7 Times Higher Than Week Ago

The new omicron coronaviruses variant was linked to nearly 3% of Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

A Covid-19 test center is located at Los Angeles International Airport.

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The omicron variant, or B. 1.1.259, remained the dominant variant in almost all of the U.S. cases between December 5-11, according to the CDC.

Between November 28 and December 4, the omicron variant was detected in 0.4% of cases.

The variant accounted for 13.1% of cases in New York, New Jersey, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which the feds have combined into one region for tracking, the highest share of any region.

In the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, there were 3.7% of cases that were linked to omicron.

2% of cases were linked to the variant in New England and the region covering Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

All other regions recorded less than 1% omicron cases, with no cases recorded in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

30. The number of states where Covid-19 cases linked to the omicron variant have been detected as of Monday, according to the CDC.
What to watch for.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that the variant is spreading at a rate that has not been seen before. Omicron will become the dominant strain in the U.S., according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

There is still a lot of uncertainty about how severe omicron is, how transmissible it is, and how protective vaccines are against the strain. The variant may produce less severe disease than the earlier strains, according to early data. The initial Covid-19 vaccine series of two doses may provide less protection against infections from the omicron variant, and booster shots are likely key to generating higher levels of immunity against the variant.

The key background.

Tedros said Tuesday that the variant is probably in most countries, even if it hasn't been detected yet. The variant was first detected in the U.S. on December 1, but the CDC has since found a person with the variant was experiencing symptoms as early as November 15. Several states, including New York and California, have imposed new mask restrictions on people from southern African countries after the White House implemented a travel ban on them.

The CDC knows a lot about the first U.S. Omicron cases.

A South Africa study found that Pfizer shot just 33% effective against Omicron infections.

Other Governors say they won't follow suit as New York's mask mandate takes effect.

Coverage and live updates on the coronaviruses.