Durban, South Africa — The Omicron variant of thethat was first detected in South Africa has now spread to at least 14 countries. Some experts think it probably is already have reached the US, but if governments, including die from America, race to impose travel restrictions, scientists rush to find out out how a lot of more more dangerous than previous strains this mutated virus really is.
As of Monday, the US imposed restrictions on travelers from South Africa and seven others countries in the region. all the new variant is confirmed in Canada, with two cases in people who recently arrived from Nigeria — not one of the nations under the new US travel restrictions.
dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration,on Sunday that the new variant was probably already in the United States, but he said: government was better positioned to detect cases of the new tension than it was a year past.
But as CBS News correspondent Debora Patta reports from the lab in Durban, South Africa where scientists first identified the Omicron variant, many in the country believes they, in instead of being applauded, punished for their excellent science.
Within 36 hours of discovering new tension, scientists in the government laboratory in Durban warned the world and started testing current vaccines against the.
utilities, just days later the masks can be back on, but the gloves to be off in the global fight to stop met new deformation. In just a case of days, Omicron is recognized worldwide and stalks the world.
if of On Monday, most travelers from South African countries will not be allowed to enter the United States, and the restrictions have been renewed for travel from southern Africa to many European countries.
Europe was already the epicenter of an alarming wave in COVID-19 cases before Omicron was discovered, and top White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Faucicthat the US “certainly” “has the potential to in a fifth wave to go” of high infections if enough people do not come forward for vaccination and booster shots.
Israel has gone step beyond limiting travel for certain countries, preventing all foreign travelers from entering the country.
But with the variant already confirmed on five continents, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shouts: for trip bans be rolled back, saying they have no base in science.
“These restrictions are completely unjustified and unjustifiably discriminatory against our country,” he said.
But world leaders pledge to slow the spread while they wait for the science – because there’s a lot we don’t do yet know. Omicron can be more contagious than earlier strains, but its severity is still unclear. It contains more than 30 mutations to the spike protein, leading some scientists to worry that it might have resistance to the current vaccines.
“I think there is good reason worrying themselves. I don’t think that means we are powerless,” Professor Anne Van Gottberg of South Africa’s Institute for Communicable diseases told CBS News, stressing that answers would be forthcoming. “We need to collect data. We need to explore and understand this variant.”
Scientists in South Africa who began met to work first with the Omicron variant and available vaccines won’t get a lab results for at least two weeks, but doctors in the country sees an increase in reinfections in people whoheb already had Covid-19.
Although the total number of infections is still low in the country, Omicron accounts for most of the more than 2,000 new daily cases in South Africa, worrying that it is possible more contageous.
An of The best infectious disease experts in South Africa warned on Monday that given the fast rise of Omicron cases, the daily infection rate in the country could triple within just to dawn.
“I expect we will surpass over 10,000 cases at the end of the week by day,” said Dr Salim Abdool Karim during a online press conference by the Ministry of Health.
Read More: World News
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