Omicron- The New COVID-19 Variant


Sanaya Gupta

Omicron is the new COVID-19 variant worrying government officials all over the world. The variant was first detected in South Africa, but some say it could have been circulating and infecting people for much longer. South Africa had been experiencing a surge in COVID cases due to the Delta variant. After some time however, the number of cases went down only to suddenly increase again, but this time it wasn’t because of the Delta variant, it was due to Omicron.

In the United States, Omicron was first discovered in California on Dec. 1, 2021, however as of now, it has been found in 5 states. Along with California, the variant was found in Minnesota, Colorado, New York and Hawaii. A travel ban on countries in Southern Africa has been implemented by the Biden Administration. 

Vox News reports, “Travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi are now blocked from entering the U.S., and American citizens and permanent residents coming from those countries must present a negative coronavirus test before traveling.” 

So far scientists are unsure of how infectious and dangerous this new variant really is. This uncertainty is causing stress. As of Dec. 1, 2021, South Africa has 77 cases, Botswana has 19 cases, and the U.K. has 22 cases, however these numbers are increasing daily.