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COVID-19 Updates » Fauci Warns Omicron Coronavirus Variant ‘Raging Through the World’

Fauci Warns Omicron Coronavirus Variant ‘Raging Through the World’


December 20, 2021 at 12:47 PM

Top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci has warned of a bleak winter ahead as the Omicron coronavirus variant spurs a new wave of infections global, sparking restrictions and concerns over hospital capacity.

"One thing that's very clear is Omicron's extraordinary capabilities of spreading," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told broadcaster NBC News on Sunday, "It is just... raging through the world".

Despite some preliminary indications, Omicron is not severe than the Delta variant currently, still, the dominant strain the heavily mutated Omicron has been shown in early data to have some resistance to vaccines and higher transmissibility.

Fauci also cautioned against too much optimism over Omicron's severity, noting that in South Africa, while the hospitalization-to-case ration is lower than with Delta, this could be due to underlying immunity from widespread previous infections.

"No matter how you look at it," he said, "when you have so many, many infections, even if it is less severe, that overcomes this slight to a moderate diminution in severity". 

"Our hospitals, if things look like they are looking now in the next week or two, are going to be very stressed", particularly in areas of the country with low levels of vaccination, Fauci said.

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