Coronavirus Omicron variant
Coronavirus Omicron variant iStock

The United States on Wednesday reported its first identified case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“This is the first case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States,” top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the White House, adding the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive on November 29.

On Tuesday, Fauci said that it is too early to know whether the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will lead to severe disease, adding that preliminary information from South Africa indicates it does not result in unusual symptoms.

President Joe Biden said on Monday that the newly discovered Omicron variant “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we're learning more every single day. And we'll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. We have more tools today to fight the variant than we've ever had before,” he added.

Later on Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new guidance recommending booster shots for all vaccinated people 18 and older.

The guidance, which previously said adults “may” get boosters, now says they “should” get a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer shot six months after their second dose. The same recommendation applies to those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine but after only two months.

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