WHO: Omicron Variant Has Been Detected In 89 Countries

VIENNA (AP) – The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 89 countries, and COVID-19 cases related to this mutation are doubling between 1.5 and three days in places with community infections and not only due to infections acquired in abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday.

The “substantial growth advantage” of omicron over the delta variant means that it is likely to soon overtake delta as the dominant form of the virus in countries where the new variant is spreading locally, the UN health agency added.

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The WHO noted that the omicron variant is spreading rapidly even in countries with high vaccination rates or where a significant proportion of the population has recovered from COVID-19.

It is not yet clear whether the rapid growth in omicron cases is due to the variant evading existing immunity, is inherently more transmissible than previous variants, or a combination of both, the WHO noted.

Other important questions about the omicron variant remain unanswered, including the efficacy of each of the existing vaccines against COVID-19. There is no conclusive data yet on other details of the omicron, the health agency said.

The WHO first labeled omicron as a variant of concern on November 26.

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