Another strand of COVID-19 is on the rise. After emergence of the delta, beta, mu and lambda strands, another strand has been detected in South Africa, which was deemed the omicron strand by the World Health Organization.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the omicron strand hasn’t made its way into the United States but he wouldn’t be surprised if it has and we just don’t know it yet.
“We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve noted in Israel and Belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over,” Dr. Fauci said on the Today show on Nov. 27.
According to the New York Daily News, the omicron-related cases are on the rise in South Africa and there’s also been an omicron case in Israel. People who have traveled to Belgium and Hong Kong and returned to South Africa have also been diagnosed with the latest strand of COVID-19.
South African scientist Tulio de Oliveira said that the variant contains more than 30 mutations in the part of the virus that can infect a person’s healthy cells, called the spike protein.
President Joe Biden released a statement saying that there will be travel restrictions due to the omicron strand being one of concern.
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” he said. “These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.”
The countries that will face travel restrictions from the U.S starting on Nov. 29 include South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
There have been five million deaths due to COVID-19.