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Understanding the Omicron Variant What You Need to Know

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Understanding the Omicron Variant

An outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, Omicron variant B1.1.529, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, 2021. On November 11, 2021, this variant was first detected in Botswana and on November 14, 2021, in South Africa. Thailand detected its first case of the Omicron Omicron variant on December 6, 2021.

The Omicron Coronavirus variant was found in a Thai-American businessman who came to the country from Spain, senior Public Health Ministry officials said.

The B.1.1.529 Omicron was classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC) by WHO on November 26, 2021. As of November 30, 2021, Omicron was designated as a Variant of Concern in the United States, and the first confirmed case was identified on December 1, 2021.

Global public health and industry partners have been working with CDC to learn more about Omicron, which we are continuing to monitor. Through genomic surveillance, the CDC has tracked COVID-19-causing variants of SARS-CoV-2. The extent to which it spreads, the severity of the illness it causes, or how well available vaccines and medications work against it remain unclear.

This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

Our understanding of Omicron

What is the spread rate of Omicron?

Omicron is likely to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and how much easier it is to spread than Delta is unknown. CDC believes that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or not experiencing symptoms.

What is the severity of illness caused by Omicron?

Further data are needed to determine whether Omicron infections and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who have been fully vaccinated, lead to more serious illness or death.

Can vaccines protect against Omicron?

It is expected that current vaccines will protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by the Omicron variant. People who are fully vaccinated, however, may develop breakthrough infections. In other variants, such as Delta, vaccines have been effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. A recent outbreak of Omicron emphasizes the need for vaccinations and boosters.

How effective are treatments against Omicron?

Current treatments for COVID-19 are being evaluated by scientists. Some treatments may remain effective in spite of Omicron’s genetic change, while others may have less effectiveness.

If you have COVID-19, you can test for it

A current infection can be detected using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. Tests such as NAAT and antigens can only detect a current infection. The COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool can be used by individuals to find out what type of test they should undergo. If you have an infection due to the variant, additional tests will be necessary.

Furthermore, self-tests are convenient, easy to use, and produce rapid results at home or anywhere else. In the event that you have a positive result from your self-test, you should stay home or quarantine yourself for 10 days, wear a mask if you have contact with others, and contact your healthcare provider. Contact your healthcare provider or public health department if you have any questions about your self-test result.

It is also important to use all the tools available to protect yourself until we know more about the variant.

World Health Organization Update on Omicron Variant

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