Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci Reuters

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the new Omricron coronavirus variant is "almost certainly” less severe than the Delta variant.

“Real-world evidence is accumulating rapidly — literally on a daily basis — to allow us to determine increase in cases, possible increase in reproductive number, and the rapid replacement of Delta by Omicron in certain situations,” Fauci saidat a White House press briefing.

“It’s too early to be able to determine the precise severity of the disease, but inklings that we are getting — and we must remember these are still in the form of anecdotal, but hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll get a much clearer picture — but it appears that with the cases that are seen we are not seeing a very severe profile of disease,” he said.

“In fact, it might be, and I underscore might, be less severe,” Fauci added.

He noted that studies from South Africa show that infection from previous strains of the coronavirus does not provide protection against the Omicron vairant.