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Omicron 'almost certainly' not more severe than Delta variant: Top US scientist Fauci

Several countries including India have reported cases with the Omicron variant. European nations have reported the majority of cases with the new variant.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: December 07, 2021 22:43 IST
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of
Image Source : AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Highlights

  • Top US scientist Dr Fauci has said Omicron is certainly not more severe than Delta variant
  • Covid cases with Omicron variant have surfaced in several countries including India
  • The new variant Omicron was first detected in South Africa

In a statement that can ease panic, a top US scientist Anthony Fauci has said that the new Covid variant Omicron is 'almost certainly' not more severe than Delta, AFP quoted the expert as saying.

Fresh restrictions are being issued across the world especially in-relation to international travel after a new Covid variant Omicron -- which was first detected in in South Africa -- surfaced. 

Several countries including India have reported cases with the Omicron variant. European countries, so far, have reported the majority of cases with the new variant.

Earlier on Monday, United States health officials said that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalisations.

President Joe Biden's chief medial adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN's “State of the Union” on Sunday that scientists need more information before drawing conclusion's about omicron's severity.

Reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalisation rates have not increased alarmingly.

“Thus far, it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said.

“But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn't cause any severe illness, comparable to delta."

Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against non-citizens entering the United States from several African countries.

They were imposed as the omicron variant exploded in the region, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has blasted such measures as “travel apartheid."

“Hopefully we'll be able to lift that ban in a quite reasonable period of time,” Fauci said.

“We all feel very badly about the hardship that has been put on not only on South Africa but the other African countries."

Omicron had been detected in about a third of US states by Sunday, including in the Northeast, the South, the Great Plains and the West Coast.

Wisconsin and Missouri were among the latest states to confirm cases.

But delta remains the dominant variant, making up more than 99 per cent of cases and driving a surge of hospitalisations in the north.

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