The Omicron variant has been detected in at least 38 countries but no deaths have yet been reported, the World Health Organization has said, amid warnings that it could damage the global economic recovery.
The United States and Australia became the latest countries to confirm locally transmitted cases of the variant, as Omicron infections pushed South Africa’s total cases past 3 million.
The WHO has warned it could take weeks to determine how infectious the variant is, whether it causes more severe illness and how effective treatments and vaccines are against it.
“We’re going to get the answers that everybody out there needs,” the WHO emergencies director, Michael Ryan, said.
The WHO said on Friday it had still not seen any reports of deaths related to Omicron, but the new variant’s spread has led to warnings that it could cause more than half of Europe’s Covid cases in the next few months. [Continue reading…]