A healthcare employee administers a Covid-19 swab take a look at at a testing website at Tropical Park in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures
A number of southern U.S. states, together with Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida, have confirmed circumstances of the omicron Covid-19 variant because the extremely mutated pressure takes root in half of all U.S. states.
Twenty-five U.S. states have detected circumstances of the brand new pressure, a quantity that well being officers count on to extend within the coming weeks, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, stated at a White Home Covid briefing Friday. The omicron circumstances come because the nation grapples with a wave of delta infections that has pushed Covid circumstances over 100,000 per day, 16% improve during the last week and up 23% since earlier than Thanksgiving, in accordance with John Hopkins College knowledge.
Scientists are nonetheless racing to reply questions on omicron’s transmissibility, severity and impression on vaccine efficacy. In the meantime, state, industrial and educational labs throughout the U.S. are upping genome sequencing efforts to detect extra circumstances of the variant.
Georgia public well being officers reported three circumstances of the variant as of Thursday, all of whom dwell within the Atlanta-metropolitan space.
The primary two circumstances had been introduced in a press launch on Sunday. One affected person developed delicate signs and examined optimistic for Covid after touring from South Africa. The state well being division additionally stated it was notified on Dec. 3 concerning the second affected person, who examined optimistic in New Jersey and is at the moment recovering there.
The division didn’t element the signs or severity of their infections.
The third case was confirmed on Thursday in an unvaccinated particular person with no latest worldwide journey historical past. The affected person is struggling delicate Covid signs and isolating at house.
The Georgia Division of Public Well being is conducting contact tracing to establish shut contacts of the contaminated sufferers, in accordance with a Thursday press launch.
State Well being Commissioner Kathleen Toomey stated vaccination was “key” to stopping the unfold of Covid and the emergence of variants like omicron, in accordance with the press launch. She additionally emphasised that delta nonetheless drives the vast majority of infections within the U.S.
“It is also essential to do not forget that whilst Omicron is rising, we’re nonetheless within the midst of a pandemic at the moment being fueled by the Delta variant,” Toomey stated.
Delta nonetheless accounts for greater than 99% of all genetically sequenced circumstances within the U.S., CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy stated throughout a White Home press briefing on Tuesday.
Georgia recorded a seven-day transferring common of 1,334 optimistic checks for the virus on Thursday, after that quantity had bottomed out beneath 1,000 for many of November, in accordance with knowledge from the CDC. The optimistic checks have been steadily rising since Thanksgiving however are nonetheless far beneath the 7,000 to 9,000 seven-day averages seen in August.
Louisiana public well being officers reported 37 circumstances of the omicron variant as of Thursday. Nonetheless, solely three circumstances are confirmed and 34 are nonetheless “possible,” the state well being division stated in a press launch.
The primary possible case was reported and recognized on Dec. 3. in a Better New Orleans space resident who not too long ago traveled throughout the U.S.
A further 16 possible circumstances had been reported on Wednesday, whereas 20 had been disclosed on Thursday alone.
Not less than 28 possible circumstances and a couple of confirmed circumstances are in residents of the Better New Orleans space. Three possible circumstances are in sufferers from the Baton Rouge space. Two possible circumstances are in sufferers from Northwest Louisiana.
One confirmed case can also be in a resident from Northshore, a neighborhood in Louisiana.
The state well being division didn’t present further details about the severity of the infections. The division solely famous that one other affected person from the Acadiana space not too long ago traveled internationally however didn’t require hospitalization after testing optimistic.
“These new circumstances of Omicron ought to function a reminder of the continuing menace of COVID particularly as we prepare to assemble for the vacations,” stated State Well being Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter within the press launch, additionally urging Louisiana residents to get vaccinated and boosted.
Louisiana recorded 439 new circumstances Thursday, in accordance with knowledge from the CDC, nonetheless beneath its peak in October when the seven-day common hit 530.
The Texas state public well being division confirmed its first case of omicron on Monday in a resident of Harris County the place Houston is positioned. The division famous that the affected person was an grownup feminine however didn’t present extra info on her signs or when she examined optimistic.
The Harris County Public Well being and the Texas Division of State Well being Companies are at the moment investigating the case.
“It is regular for viruses to mutate, and given how shortly Omicron unfold in southern Africa, we’re not shocked that it confirmed up right here,” stated Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state well being division commissioner.
Texas recorded a seven-day transferring common of two,554 circumstances Thursday, in accordance with knowledge from the CDC. This quantity is much beneath what it was within the earlier months, with the seven-day transferring common hitting as much as 9,000 in October and 19,000 in September.
Two circumstances of the omicron variant have been reported in Florida as of Thursday, a spokesperson for the state’s division of public well being advised CNBC.
The division was notified of the primary affected person by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the spokesperson stated, noting that they’re unable to offer particulars on the case.
The hospital famous in a press release to WFLA that the affected person is experiencing delicate signs and not too long ago traveled internationally.
“Our suppliers had been capable of shortly detect, take a look at, verify and add this knowledge to our creating understanding of this pressure,” the hospital stated within the assertion, in accordance with WFLA.
The second case from St. Lucie County was reported by the state well being division to the CDC, the spokesperson added. They didn’t present further particulars on the case.
When requested about experiences of the brand new omicron circumstances at a Tuesday information briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated he wouldn’t impose lockdowns within the state.
“In Florida, we cannot allow them to lock you down, we cannot allow them to prohibit you, we’re not gonna allow them to impose mandates, we’re not gonna allow them to shut the faculties, we’re gonna defend your freedom to make your choices,” DeSantis advised reporters.
“And I’ve no drawback if someone is frightened, in the event that they’re terrified of omicron and so they wish to lock down or they wish to isolate, that’s completely their resolution in a free society, however you do not impose Fauci-ism on the entire nation or on the entire state, it is mistaken,” he continued.
As of Thursday, Florida had a seven-day transferring common of 1,873 optimistic checks of the virus, in accordance with knowledge from the CDC. This quantity has been rising over the previous few weeks, final reaching 1,800 new circumstances a day on Oct. 28.