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    (CNN)Just when we thought we were heading for a more normalized holiday season, a new variant -- the dreaded Omicron -- has been identified as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. I and other public health experts are cautioning Americans to take this variant seriously, but also to be patient, as we have much to discover. But I recognize that the wait feels understandably frustrating: how is it possible that almost two years into the pandemic, we still can't know with certainty what the next best step might be? Megan Ranney To understand where we are, and where we are going, it's helpful to understand the science behind Omicron, and the speed at which we can expect answers. The discovery of this variant is impressive, in and of itself. It was identified when South African scientists who were conducting regular surveillance saw an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Gauteng Province. They genotyped incoming tests in only 36 hours, quickly identifying the dozens of mutations that are putting the public health community on edge. This speed...
    A rare gene variant that typically appears in Amish communities may hold the key to preventing heart disease, according to researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The study found that those that have this particular gene, known as B4GALT1, appear to have lower levels of heart-damaging cholesterol, as well as a blood-clotting protein called fibrinogen.  Less than one in 10,000 people have this gene, yet amazingly 12 percent of the Pennsylvania Amish community in Lancaster County carry the gene variant.   Past studies on the gene revealed that certain mutations can change one's cholesterol levels, too much of which can cause clogged arteries and cardiovascular diseases, which remains the leading cause of death worldwide.  Researchers involved in the study claim this is the first time scientists have isolated a gene that lowers two different yet equally important heart disease risk factors.   Amazingly, 12 percent of the Pennsylvania Amish community in Lancaster County, pictured, carry the gene variant Those that have this particular gene, known as B4GALT1, pictured, appear to have lower levels of heart-damaging cholesterol, as well as a blood-clotting...
    The detection of the newly identified omicron COVID-19 variant in multiple U.S. states is expected to dominate this week’s Sunday show circuit. Earlier this week, the United States announced its first confirmed case of the newly detected omicron variant, which scientists and health officials are racing to learn more about. The first case was discovered in a vaccinated San Francisco resident who just returned from South Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The announcement soon kicked off a steady stream of confirmed omicron cases in other states, including in Minnesota, New York and Colorado.  At least a dozen states have now reported confirmed cases of the variant — something that health officials had suspected would be the case given that it had already been reported in other countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom. “As we all know, when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here,” President BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron...
    Cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant are being confirmed around the country this weekend. CaliforniaThe first case of the "variant of concern" was identified in a California resident and public health officials in the Golden State said Friday that at least five people in Alameda County were infected by the strain after attending a wedding in Wisconsin last month. The five people who have confirmed – and "mildly symptomatic" – omicron cases are part of a group of 12 vaccinated people between the ages of 18 and 49 who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Alameda County Department of Public Health.  One of the individuals went to the Nov. 27 wedding after returning from international travel. Genomic sequencing for the remaining seven cases has not yet been completed. "Most" of the 12 people had received booster shots.  CONTACT TRACING REVS UP IN SOME STATES AS OMICRON REACHES USNew Jersey and GeorgiaAlso on Friday, authorities said that a woman who recently traveled from South Africa is both New Jersey and Georgia’s first confirmed case of the variant. The woman is...
    Once again, we enter a new phase of pandemic uncertainty. As we approached the end of the second year of the pandemic, we knew that the holiday season would once again present challenges. With the weather cooling and more people gathering indoors to celebrate with friends and families, an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths seemed inevitable. And then, on Thanksgiving Day, as the U.S. holiday season launched, South Africa alerted the world to its discovery of the omicron coronavirus variant. Five days later, the first U.S. case was reported in San Francisco. After a week, more than 20 countries had reported omicron cases. By Friday, in the United States, nine states — Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Utah — had joined California on the list. There’s no sugarcoating it: There’s a good chance that omicron will spread throughout the nation and the world. Ali Mokdad, who tracks COVID-19 at the University of Washington, told NPR that if it can compete with the delta variant, omicron will be the main one circulating in this...
              moreby Casey Harper   President Joe Biden unveiled a new set of executive actions to address the Omicron variant Thursday, though how serious the threat of the variant will be remains unclear. Biden gave an address from the White House Thursday where he urged a nationwide effort to up vaccinations and booster shots for Americans. The administration said it will extend the mask requirement for domestic flights to March 18 while increasing restrictions on inbound international travelers, requiring they receive a negative COVID test within 24 hours of departure. Senior administration officials said pharmacies will send millions of texts and emails as well as make phone calls telling Americans to get the booster. They also said the AARP is working with the administration to urge seniors to get vaccinated and that Medicare will send a notice to 63 million seniors encouraging them to receive the booster shot. According to the administration officials, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) “will start paying healthcare providers to talk to families about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated.” Aside from the...
    Dr. Anthony Fauci referred to the first strain of COVID as the 'Wuhan strain' during his first Fox News appearance since July, drawing comparisons to the widespread backlash former president Trump faced when he called it the 'China Virus' On Friday Fauci appeared on the Fox Business Network's Cavuto: Coast to Coast to discuss the US' strategy to quell the new Omicron variant, which emerged last week in Southern Africa.  Fauci's Friday appearance on the network comes shortly after it was revealed that the doctor - who has become a lightning rod for conservatives opposing vaccination and mask mandates - would be again entertaining interview requests from the network, after reportedly turning down their requests for months. While explaining the importance of booster vaccinations to combat the Omicron variant, Dr. Fauci referred to the original strain of COVID as the 'Wuhan strain' On Friday Fauci appeared on the Fox Business Network's Cavuto: Coast to Coast to discuss the US' strategy to quell the new Omicron variant During his appearance Fauci said there is no chance of COVID being...
    NEW YORK (WABC) -- "The Countdown" is here to get you caught up with all of the day's political news.You can watch it online, on the ABC7NY app or on our Connected TV apps for Fire, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. Click here to learn more.Today's political headlines:Pandemic latestABC New Political Director Rick Klein says with coronavirus being a fact of life, the "idea of a mission accomplished moment... that is a distant dream." A jobs report today showed the U.S. economy is "markedly stronger" than it was a year ago with 210,000 new jobs in November and an unemployment rate at 4.2%. In terms of President Biden finding a way to push his agenda forward during this lull in the economy, Political Analyst Hank Sheinkopf says the President may forever be known as "bad luck Biden" because he "can't get anything going in his direction."Biden signs stopgap funding bill to keep government runningPresident Joe Biden has signed into law the stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running through Feb. 18. The White House thanked congressional...
    (CNN)With the Omicron variant showing up in more states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN Friday that her agency is working hard to understand exactly what kind of threat this new variant poses. But she points out that the Delta variant in wide circulation now is still a concern. Walensky spoke with CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about it on Friday afternoon. The interview has been edited for clarity.The Omicron variant is putting Americas coronavirus sequencing efforts to the testDr. Sanjay Gupta: It's been over a week now since the world learned about this new variant. What do we know now that we didn't know then? Dr. Rochelle Walensky: These data are really starting to emerge. We've seen a rise in cases in South Africa and southern Africa. We will learn a lot about this variant from them. We have scaled up our genomic sequencing here and have been prepared for this because of all we've all of the work that we've done so far. Read MoreWe have so many...
    Dr. Sikhulile Moyo was analyzing COVID-19 samples in his lab in Botswana last week when he noticed they looked startlingly different from others. Within days, the world was ablaze with the news that the coronavirus had a new variant of concern — one that appears to be driving a dramatic surge in South Africa and offering a glimpse of where the pandemic might be headed. New COVID-19 cases in South Africa have burgeoned from about 200 a day in mid-November to more than 16,000 on Friday. Omicron was detected over a week ago in the country’s most populous province, Gauteng, and has since spread to all eight other provinces, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said. Even with the rapid increase, infections are still below the 25,000 new daily cases that South Africa reported in the previous surge, in June and July. WHITE HOUSE SAYS DOMESTIC TRAVEL VACCINE REQUIREMENTS ON THE TABLE DUE TO OMICRON VARIANT Little is known about the new variant, but the spike in South Africa suggests it might be more contagious, said Moyo, the scientist who may have...
    (CNN)This week, the first Omicron variant case was detected in the United States as some conservative members of Congress nearly shut down the federal government over vaccine mandates.  Monday Biden's agenda brings warring conservative factions together in quest to flip House Biden says new Omicron variant is 'cause for concern, not a cause for panic' First lady Jill Biden unveils her first White House holiday decorations  Boebert and Omar have contentious call amid backlash for anti-Muslim remarks Tuesday Administration working with vaccine manufacturers to 'develop contingency plans' amid new variant Biden suffers string of court setbacks as administration's vaccine mandates are put on hold Biden administration considering requiring stricter coronavirus testing for everyone traveling to US Read More THE POINT -- NOW ON YOUTUBE! In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe! Wednesday Supreme Court's conservatives lean towards limiting abortion rights after dramatic oral arguments on Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks Biden to extend transportation mask mandate...
    The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been reported in the U.S., including in Maryland on Friday, but Dr. Anthony Fauci said that although this latest variant is obviously of some concern, it’s “nothing to panic about” right now. That’s because “we don’t know everything about it,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. Among the unknowns are whether the omicron variant makes people sicker and whether it can evade vaccines and boosters. Fauci, who spoke to WTOP on Friday, said more information might initially come from South Africa, where omicron was first identified. Scientists in South Africa recently reported that preliminary findings suggested omicron may cause increased reinfections among people who’ve already had COVID-19. Scientists have also observed that omicron appears to have a good degree of capability of transmission, and is possibly more transmissible than the delta variant. “So what we need to do is just keep just keep following the situation, getting as much information and data as we can,” Fauci told...
    Long lines formed in front of a new vaccination site that opened this week in Washington, DC. Over the last few days, the COVID-19 news has been dominated by concern over the omicron variant. Scientists are worried by the number of changes to the virus, including changes to the critical spike protein. Health officials around the world are nervous because a majority of the planet is still surfing the delta wave, and the idea of something worse coming along at this moment is genuinely terrifying.  So the news this week has degraded into snatching at crumbs of information that put together sound something like “omicron isn’t that bad, oh wait, it’s horrible, or maybe not, or maybe vaccines work, or the don’t, it’s already here, wait its been here, oh god, it’s everywhere.” Which is not helpful. It’s still unclear how contagious omicron is compared to other variants. Or how likely it is to cause serious illness. Or how much difference it makes in the efficiency of vaccines.  What is clear is that COVID-19 cases are once again rising in...
    This is a rush transcript of "The Five" on December 2, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: All right. I'm Greg Gutfeld, along with Katie Pavlich, Jessica Tarlov, Jesse Watters and she plays hopscotch on a waffle, Dana Perino, THE FIVE.The media rushing to defend Joe Biden as he pushes the same old tired plan to deal with a new COVID variant. The president implementing new testing requirements adding additional mandates and of course telling Americans to mask up and get their boosters.Now, he is complaining that COVID has become too politicized as if he had nothing to do with it.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is a plan that I think should unite us. I know COVID-19 has been very divisive. In this country, it's become a political issue, which is a sad, sad commentary. It shouldn't be, but it has been. This is a moment we can do what we haven't been able to do enough of through this...
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday announced three Marylanders have the new omicron variant of COVID-19. New York, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Colorado have reported cases of the omicron variant. Maryland reported 1,700 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, as the state surpassed 11,000 deaths from the virus.
    With a handful of cases now confirmed across the country, it’s clear that the worrisome, mutated Omicron variant has secured a toehold in the United States. But whether these initial infections ultimately fade out or prove to be the beachhead for a new viral assault depends largely on how the strain stacks up against a now-familiar foe: the Delta variant. Since it officially burst onto the scene last week, much of the discussion surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has centered around what scientists admit they don’t know — whether it might spread more easily than other strains, change disease severity or more readily evade vaccine protection. Yet just as important a question, suggests John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is this: What if it’s no match for the devil we know? “Can Delta outcompete Omicron, or will Omicron thrive in the face of Delta?” Moore said Thursday at a forum sponsored by UC San Francisco. “That’s just a complete unknown at the moment.” Science Did failure to...
    California has recorded its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in Los Angeles County. There are currently no indications of a larger outbreak, and officials are urging people not to panic, saying they see no need for more restrictions at this time. Here is what we know:The patient The infection, county officials said, was most probably travel-related, as the person had returned to L.A. after flying to South Africa via London on Nov. 22 — just days before Omicron’s detection was publicly announced and the World Health Organization officially declared it a “variant of concern.” “A small number of close contacts in Los Angeles have been identified and, to date, all have tested negative and have no symptoms,” county officials said in a statement. California L.A. County records first case of Omicron variant as officials urge more COVID-19 testing Confirmation of the variant in the nation’s most populous county came as officials urged residents to get tested for the coronavirus more frequently when it makes sense to do so — particularly...
    COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising across the United States as the Omicron variant continues to spread around the country. On Thursday, officials recorded 140,875 new cases of the virus with a seven-day rolling average of 101,119, marking the first time that the average has surpassed 100,000 since October 6. This is also a 40.5 percent increase from the average of 71,960 reported four weeks ago, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.  Additionally, the U.S. recorded 3,800 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the highest figure reported in three months.  However, the seven-day rolling average sits at 957, a 19 percent decline from the 1187 average reported four weeks ago. What's more, 47,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus, a 17.5 percent jump from the 40,000 figure being recorded three weeks ago. It comes as the Omicron Covid variant continues to crop up around the nation with six states now reporting cases - and dozens sure to follow.  On Thursday, the U.S. recorded 140,875 Covid cases with a seven-day rolling average of 101,119, marking the first time the...
    A medical worker administers a nasal swab Covid-19 test to a traveler at the Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care testing site in the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images At least six U.S. states now have more than a dozen cases of the highly mutated omicron Covid-19 variant after Nebraska officials Friday confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently infected five members of their household. The news comes one day after 10 cases were confirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation's first case of the variant in a patient in San Francisco on Wednesday and tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday.  The first patient in Nebraska returned from Nigeria on Nov. 23 and became symptomatic on Nov. 24, according to a press release from the Public Health Solutions District Health Department. Only one of the six people were vaccinated and none have required hospitalization, the department said. New York officials...
    (CBS4) – A new COVID-19 variant — omicron — has some experts worried it could be more transmissible and more resistant to vaccines than previous variants of the virus. So just how did the virus get to this point? Health experts say it’s a series of mistakes the virus makes as it travels from host to host. RELATED: Omicron Variant Is In Colorado, Health Officials Confirm “When viruses are transmitted from person to person, every single time that virus moves to a new person, it’s replicating itself over and over again, and there is a chance for an error to happen,” explained Tori Burket, the epidemiology disease intervention program manager of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. A coronavirus omicron variant composition (Courtesy: Getty Images) Burket says, as a virus grows inside a person, it reproduces and makes copies of itself. Sometimes, the virus makes mistakes with those copies, leading to mutations. The mistakes can sometimes make the virus weaker, and that variant dies off, but sometimes, the mistakes help the virus become a stronger, more resistant form...
    If the omicron variant of the coronavirus is different enough from the original variant, it’s possible that existing vaccines won’t be as effective as they have been. If so, it’s likely that companies will need to update their vaccines to better fight omicron. Deborah Fuller is a microbiologist who has been studying mRNA and DNA vaccines for over two decades. Here she explains why vaccines might need to be updated and what that process would look like.Why might vaccines need to be updated?Basically, it’s a question of whether a virus has changed enough so that antibodies created by the original vaccine are no longer able to recognize and fend off the new mutated variant. Coronaviruses use spike proteins to attach to ACE-2 receptors on the surface of human cells and infect them. All mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work by giving instructions in the form of mRNA that direct cells to make a harmless version of the spike protein. This spike protein then induces the human body to produce antibodies. If a person is then ever exposed to the coronavirus, these antibodies...
    (CNN)Rows of scientists sit before racks of coronavirus samples inside a laboratory in Henderson, North Carolina, wearing face masks and scrubs. All hours of the day and night, they transfer the samples from tubes to processing plates, searching for answers about the virus behind these Covid-19 cases. From confirming a positive Covid-19 sample to prepping the DNA and then sequencing it, the process takes two to three days in the lab, said Lauren Moon, sequencing manager for MAKO Medical's Next Generation Sequencing Lab in North Carolina.First confirmed US case of Omicron coronavirus variant detected in CaliforniaWork like this is happening in labs around the United States as the country races to learn more about the newly identified Omicron variant. "Knowledge is power in this, and the more that we know about something the more equipped we are to fight it. The more effective our vaccines are going to be and the more informed the public is, they can take appropriate safety measures," Moon told CNN's Dianne Gallagher. "We want to sequence as much as possible," Moon said. This lab has...
    COVID could ruin Christmas celebrations for the 'next five years' until it settles in an endemic state, government advisers have warned. Once Covid is in an endemic state it would mean that it is being regularly found, almost like the common cold or the flu virus. 2Experts say that it could take five years for the pandemic to settle to a predictable endemic stateCredit: PA Government advisers part of SPI-M-O warned that Covid would continue to be a threat to the NHS and would require 'active management'. In a meeting on November 24, before Omicron was deemed a variant of concern, the experts said: "It will take a long time for Covid-19 to settle to its endemic state. "The path to endemicity will be critically dependent on the rate of waning of immunity and chosen policies on vaccination and boosting. "SARS-CoV-2 will continue to be a threat to health system function and require active management, of which vaccination and surveillance are key, for at least the next five years." Earlier this week the government announced new restrictions after cases...
    Of the 59 cases identified in Europe, all of them were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, just like the case discovered in California. Incidentally, nearly all of the cases seem to be among the vaccinated. Even Japan appears to have eased its travel restrictions after seeing that this variant appears to be mild. The cruel irony is that the panic over the mildest variant appears to come at a time when there are record hospitalizations among highly vaccinated northern states in the U.S. and much of continental Europe. Why would public health officials focus on a random new variant that would probably portend good news if it predominated Delta, when the current iteration is what is killing so many people? Clearly, the leaders want to distract from the existing failure of the vaccines against the current variant and sow fear about something new and unknown rather than own up to the fiasco and forge new policies to better treat people for Delta. In reality, Delta appeared to start more like a bad cold when the U.K. got...
    This is a rush transcript from "The Five," December 1, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST (on camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Dana Perino, along with Judge Jeanine Pirro, Jessica Tarlov, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld. It's five o'clock in New York City, and this is THE FIVE. President Biden and his administration being accused of ramping up hysteria around the new COVID variant. The White House announcing today the first case of Omicron was detected in California. While the president is urging Americans not to panic the White House is reportedly set to start imposing strict testing mandates and seven-day quarantine for people entering the country including U.S. citizens. And the CDC reportedly forcing the airlines to disclose passenger's names and personal information if they have recently traveled to certain countries in Southern Africa. Jen Psaki was asked about the White House's latest effort to curb the virus. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It is the idea that you want people now to kind...
    ▶ Watch Video: Biden launches plan to combat Omicron variant The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is the latest strain of the coronavirus to be designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization: more and more countries are reporting cases, and it has an unusual combination of mutations that may enable it to spread faster. Scientists are also trying to determine whether the current vaccines are effective against it. Is it spreading in the U.S.? At least 10 cases have been reported across five states: Hawaii, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, and California. Some local leaders say Omicron is likely spreading in their states, after spotting cases not linked to international travel.  On December 2, New York’s governor announced that five new cases of the variant had been detected in the state. At least one, a 67 year old woman, had recently traveled to South Africa. She had received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine and reported “mild symptoms” from the disease. Officials said they had few details on the other four cases. That announcement came hours after health officials...
    (CNN)On November 24, the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa identified a new coronavirus variant of concern, dubbed Omicron. Since the variant's initial identification in South Africa, it has been discovered in a number of countries spanning multiple continents, and on Wednesday, the first case of Covid-19 caused by this variant was reported in California. Alane IzuShabir Madhi Two days after news of Omicron's existence was announced, after it had also been detected in Hong Kong and Botswana, the UK issued a travel ban on all foreign travelers from South Africa and a handful of neighboring nations with more than 20 countries, including the US, following suit in some form. This felt like a slap on South Africa's wrist -- and one that will likely hurt the South African people while providing little protection from Omicron to the rest of the world. South Africa should not be punished for being quick to identify the variant and notify the world of its presence. The promises heads of states made at the G20 summit in October to be collaborative in...
    Stephen Colbert is addressing the latest bizarre conspiracy theories anti-vaxxers are pushing with the emergence of the latest COVID variant Omicron. On the Thursday evening edition of "The Late Show," Colbert slammed the latest round of mind-boggling claims from anti-vaxxers insisting the emerging variant is a hoax, reports HuffPost. “The newest batch of online stupid maintains that omicron is a hoax,” said Colbert. “Their proof? If you scramble the letters of omicron, you get the word moronic.” “Wow … that theory is incredibly omicron,” he joked. It's Looking Rough For Roe | Tracking Omicron From 'Moronic' To 'No Crimbo' youtu.be Colbert went on to discuss the claims being pushed by conspiracy theorists in Britain. Colbert's criticism of anti-vaxxers comes as a small number of Omicron-variant COVID cases have been discovered in the United States. As of Thursday, December 2, a total of five Omicron COVID cases have been identified in New York state. Despite anti-vaxxers claims about the strain being nothing more than a hoax, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is...
    The presidents of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire joined South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for engagements on Wednesday and Thursday in solidarity following the imposition of a travel ban on that country by President Joe Biden and leaders of European and Middle Eastern states this week. Several countries issued the travel bans in response to the discovery of a new Chinese coronavirus variant, dubbed “Omicron,” which South African scientists first identified. No evidence suggests the variant originated in South Africa, however, and multiple European countries have revealed since the announcement of Omicron’s discovery that they have documented cases of the variant on their soil prior to the first South African case last week. European travel bans have taken much longer to arrive than the swift ban on African travelers. Last year, in response to President Donald Trump implementing similar restrictions on travel from China and elsewhere at the beginning of the pandemic, Biden referred to these policies as deriving from “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.” Ramaphosa has similarly condemned the bans since the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) declared Omicron a “variant of...
    THROUGHOUT the coronavirus pandemic we have all become familiar with the three main signs of infection. But experts have warned that these are likely to be different in the Omicron variant which has made its way to the UK in the last week. 2If you catch the new Omicron strain then it's likely you'll experience different symptoms to what the NHS has previously set outCredit: Getty So far 42 cases of the variant have been detected in the UK and Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA, said it is “very likely” more cases of the highly mutated strain Omicron will emerge. If you catch Omicron, or if you are a contact of someone who has caught it then you have to isolate for ten days, regardless of your vaccine status. But experts have said that Omicron could be hard to spot, as it might not be as obvious as previous strains. The NHS continues to say that a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell are the key symptoms of Covid-19. Professor Tim Spector, of...
    By: KDKA-TV’s Shelley Bortz PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – UPMC weighed in on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at a news conference Thursday. READ MORE: PennDOT Asking For Public Input Ahead Of Bridge Work In Westmoreland CountyDoctors said the spread of the latest variant is far from surprising and is very likely not the last variant we will see. The new Omicron variant is more frightening to people than the Delta variant because of the unknowns surrounding it right now. That’s why doctors say we have to continue to be diligent with our safety measures. “As long as the virus is spreading around the world, there will be an opportunity for a new, potentially more dangerous variant,” said UPMC Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Graham Snyder. The U.S. recorded its first known Omicron infection on Wednesday and its second and third Thursday, just one week after hearing about the new variant. “Definitely makes us nervous. We both had COVID back in November. My husband is just now getting over that,” said Trudy Friend from Bethel Park. READ MORE: Man Being...
    DENVER (CBS4) – The first Colorado case of the omicron variant was reported Thursday. Experts say the new omicron variant is different in more than 30 ways from the COVID-19 virus we have seen so far. Here is what we know — and don’t know — about the new variant: Symptoms: So far, infections from the new variant have produced mild symptoms, according to Al Tompkins with Poynter. The first patient detected in Colorado reported mild symptoms and is isolating at home. Vaccine Status: It appears most of the people infected by the omicron variant were not fully vaccinated, according to Tompkins. “We do not know yet if the currently approved vaccines protect us a little, a lot or not much at all from this version of the virus, but there is reason to believe the vaccines will provide at least some protection,” Tompkins stated Thursday. Omicron or B.1.1.529 Coronavirus the new variant of concern by WHO. “We just don’t know those answers yet,” Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer from Presbyterian St. Luke’s...
    BOSTON (CBS) — Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-related medical questions. If you have a question, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter. Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health. Bud writes, “My wife and I are vaccinated and boosted but are having an argument about going to a house party with 30+ people. We know of one guest who refuses to be vaccinated. Should we go?” I don’t think it’s a good idea to be indoors in close proximity to anyone who is not vaccinated without masks, especially if you’re over 65 and/or have underlying health problems. I’m sorry if I’m making the argument between you and your wife worse, but you asked for my opinion. Douglas says, “I am vaccinated and boosted. I want to visit my grandkids. Should I do a rapid test before I see them? Are they effective in detecting Omicron?” Yes, rapid tests should still be able to detect the Omicron variant. If you’re going to test before seeing your grandchildren, and...
    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As more countries report cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, scientists in the U.S. are analyzing tens of thousands of virus samples, looking for the new strain. It is a complicated laboratory process that CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports is key is to understand how contagious and how serious a disease the strain can cause. READ MORE: First U.S. Case Of Omicron Variant Detected In CaliforniaHealth officials around the world are concerned about the new variant because it has a never-before-seen number of mutations in the genes that code for the spike proteins which the virus uses to enter human cells. COVID VACCINE New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC Track NYC vaccinations by zip code Nassau County more info here Suffolk County more info here Westchester County more info here New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545 Connecticut book online here Labs around the U.S., like the Pandemic Response Lab just outside New York City, are testing to see where else Omicron will pop up, now that the Centers for Disease Control has...
    SAN FRANCISCO —  A UC San Francisco lab that analyzes positive coronavirus test results is a big reason behind the quick identification of the Omicron variant in California, the first documented case in the United States. The lab run by Dr. Charles Chiu, an infectious disease specialist at UC San Francisco, routinely analyzes positive coronavirus cases in San Francisco for their genomic sequence to identify the variant. Chiu said he first heard about the positive case at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The moderately ill San Francisco resident, who returned home Nov. 22 from a trip to South Africa, became symptomatic on or around Thanksgiving and got tested for the coronavirus Sunday. On Monday, the results came back positive. Chiu’s lab received a sample of the detected coronavirus by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Scientists ran a fast molecular test, which produced results in two hours that were suggestive, but not conclusive, that the coronavirus that sickened the resident was the Omicron variant. “To confirm this finding, we needed to sequence the genome — the viral genome — of this virus,” Chiu...
    SAN FRANCISCO —  A person in San Francisco has been identified as having the first recorded case of the Omicron variant in the United States, health officials said Wednesday. Both California and federal officials suspect the coronavirus variant is likely in other parts of the country by now. They say its presence is a cause for concern but not panic.The patient The infected individual returned home from South Africa on Nov. 22, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The person developed symptoms around Nov. 25 — Thanksgiving — and got tested Sunday. On Monday, the result came back positive, and the virus specimen was subsequently analyzed and revealed to be the latest named coronavirus strain. Citing privacy, health officials released few details about the individual. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the person was between 18 and 49 years old.Condition The person was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. Officials said the individual’s condition was improving as of Wednesday. “The person recently traveled to South Africa and developed symptoms upon their...
    When the new Omicron variant became known last week, there was anxiety about whether it would lead governments to consider new restrictions just as the holidays arrived. And while the variant has now been detected in California, officials say that they don’t think they’ll need to implement significant new restrictions, saying travel plans can be pursued and policies already in place around masks and vaccine verification are the best path for combatting the new strain of the coronavirus. “This has been an extraordinarily long and challenging time, and people are right to feel fatigued,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “I think the best way to put all of this in perspective is we actually have a lot more powerful tools at our hand right now than we did last year.” California L.A. County has no plans for an Omicron lockdown No significant new coronavirus-related restrictions are planned in Los Angeles County despite the emergence of the Omicron variant. Why this approach? Officials are quick to note that the state of the pandemic is...
    Share this: While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn’t finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., sending record numbers of patients to the hospital in the Midwest and New England. “Omicron is a spark that’s on the horizon. Delta variant is the fire that’s here today,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, where an unprecedented 334 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 as of midweek. The U.S. recorded its first known omicron infection on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated person who had returned to California from South Africa, where the variant was first identified just over a week ago.
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    The majority of Republicans in Washington are thoroughly confused about their own party and their own voters. Some have lost faith in Republican voters completely and written them off as racists or crazies. Others don’t know what to think. They are essentially biding time and hoping things go back to the way they were. They won’t, of course. America is changing quickly. Voting patterns and the two-party norm that lasted for decades are under strain. Amazingly, Democrats are on the verge of handing back power to a Republican Party that’s in a state of total chaos. All Republicans need to do is not screw it up. For reasons that are hard to even comprehend, Democrats who should know better are allowing themselves to be defined by their most radical members. Defunding the police and opening the borders were followed by an effort to radicalize curriculums for school-age children. The far left wants to teach American children to judge people by race. Shocker. The vast majority of Americans aren’t into this insanity. Now Democrats seem poised to give up the one...
    Concerns have been sparked by a new COVID-19 variant known as Omicron. A confirmed COVID-19 case caused by that variant was detected in a person in California who had recently been to South Africa, according to the CDC. That person "had mild symptoms that are improving," the CDC noted. A Minnesota resident who had attended a convention in New York City contracted COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant but has recovered, the CDC has also reported.
    "Let me be clear, not a single vaccine dose America ever sends to the rest of the world will ever come at the expense of any American," Biden said. "I'll always make sure that our people are protected first. But vaccinating the rest of the world is not just a moral tool – a moral obligation we have – in my view. It's how we protect Americans." The president also addressed the Omicron variant of coronavirus, which was discovered by South African scientists last week and now has confirmed cases in Colorado, Minnesota, and California. "As I explained on Monday, this new variant is cause for concern but not panic," Biden said. “We have the best tools, the best vaccines in the world, the best medicine and the best scientists in the world. We are going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion.” He added: “We don’t yet believe that additional measures will be needed. But so that we’re prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna...
    It remains to be seen how dangerous COVID-19’s new omicron variant is compared to the Delta variant; scientists and medical experts still have a lot to learn about it. But when Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Omicron during a press conference this week, he stressed that the less it is allowed to spread, the better. A reporter at the press conference asked Fauci: If omicron proves “more transmissible but less virulent than Delta, would there be any public health benefit to furthering its spread by lifting travel restrictions?” Fauci’s response was direct, blunt and forceful. The 80-year-old expert immunologist, who has worked in the federal government since the late 1960s and is President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser, told the reporter, “You’re talking about something really dangerous. You’re talking about: Let a lot of people get infected to see if, in fact, you could protect them. That’s something that I think almost all infectious disease people with any knowledge about infectious disease would not say (is) a good idea.” Reporter asks if there would be...