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COVID-19 Variants: Omicron Rising

Published on: December 08, 2021.

About the Data Insights

Omicron was first detected in the U.S. on December 1st and scientists are racing to understand the variant. Preliminary data suggests Omicron spreads more rapidly than other variants and is milder, although some scientists think it’s too early to know.

The recent arrival of Omicron to the United States has raised concerns about vaccine effectiveness and the future of the pandemic as we head into the new year. The emergence of variants and persistent vaccine inequality highlights the global nature of the pandemic. As more Americans are getting their booster shots, efforts are underway to get initial doses of vaccines to poor countries.

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  • Variants of Concern: “Science Brief: Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variant.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated Dec. 2, 2021.
  • Delta: “CDC Covid Data Tracker.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11/27/21-12/04/21 NOWCAST.
  • Omicron number: Chappell, Bill. “19 U.S. States Now Have Detected the Omicron Covid-19 Variant.” NPR, NPR, 7 Dec. 2021.
  • Reinfection study: Cheng, Amy. “Omicron Coronavirus Variant Three Times More Likely to Cause Reinfection than Delta, S. Africa Study Says.” The Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2021.
  • Study on genetic code: Cheng, Amy. “Omicron Possibly More Infectious Because It Shares Genetic Code with Common Cold Coronavirus, Study Says.” The Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2021.

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