Omicron could become dominant, but Delta is a problem now, CDC Director says

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Health, Omicron Could Become The Dominant Variant

12/4/2021 10:01:00 AM

Omicron might eventually become the dominant strain in the US, but the biggest concern right now is the Delta variant, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says

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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 America's 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 more tools now to address variants than we did a year ago, but I do want to highlight what was said at the top which is we now have about 86,000 cases of Covid right now in the United States being diagnosed daily, and 99.9% of them, the vast majority of them, continue to be Delta. And we know what we need to do against Delta and that is get vaccinated. Get boosted if you're eligible. And continue all of those prevention measures including masking, and those are very likely to work against Omicron as well.South African researchers find evidence people more easily reinfected with Omicron variant than with other variantsDr. Sanjay Gupta: Are you worried that Omicron will become a dominant strain here? Do we have evidence of that or what's your level of concern?Dr. Rochelle Walensky: You know, it might and we don't yet know. What we do know is that early data, and even mutation data, are telling us that this may well be a more transmissible variant than Delta. This is going to take some time to sort out. We are prepared, though. We are doing genomic sequencing in all of these states, but it may very well be that we start to see more Omicron than we have Delta. And we will be following that very carefully.Dr. Sanjay Gupta: As you mentioned, we're doing a lot more sequencing, certainly then a year ago, or even several months ago, but it strikes me, Dr. Walensky, we're still only doing just over a million tests a day. Period. There was talk at one point of doing 20 million, 30 million tests a day. If we're not doing enough tests, even if we're sequencing more, doesn't that put us behind in terms of actually being able to have real vision on what's happening here?Why return-to-office headlines don't reflect the messy realityDr. Rochelle Walensky: So I think you're referring to the PCR tests. We're doing about one and a half million PCR tests per week. But I think what we really need to comment on is we're doing a lot more rapid testing and even with the President's actions yesterday, we're scaling up rapid testing in our international airports as we speak, in LAX and San Francisco, Atlanta, Newark, JFK to make sure that we have rapid tests and PCR tests available for international travelers so that they can come in and do tests, you know, three to five days, even if they don't have symptoms after they arrive. We're doing a lot of testing in our K-12 communities, in our higher ed communities. And we're scaling up our rapid tests that are going to be available in lower income settings, and in more vulnerable communities so that those rapid tests will be free. We have rapid tests that are now going to be available that can be refunded from your insurance company. So we're doing a lot more, not just in our PCR testing, but also in our rapid testing.A gravelly voiced President Biden says he has a coldDr. Sanjay Gupta: I think a lot of people still, especially as we're going into the cooler, drier months, still have questions about testing. Who should be getting tested? How often should people be getting tested? What kind of tests should they be using?Dr. Rochelle Walensky: The whole point is to have accessible, affordable tests for when you need or want one and that's exactly what all of the scale up has been about. Certainly, if you have any symptoms that are suggestive of Covid-19, you should go and get a test. And I would say, if you have access to a rapid test first, get that one. If you have easy access to a PCR, get that one. The latest on the Omicron coronavirus variantSo anybody who has symptoms should of course get a test and then consult with their healthcare provider, but certainly quarantine until you have the results of that test. Then many people are using tests for asymptomatic screening like they're doing in our K through 12 systems, like they're doing in many of our higher ed, and many are also using it as people are starting to gather for the holidays. For example, if you want to have a gathering and you have a whole group of people who are vaccinated, who have been practicing prevention measures for the weeks before the gathering, and really want that extra amount of reassurance, you can get a test to make sure that you're safe to gather.Dr. Sanjay Gupta: You mentioned the patients who have now been diagnosed with this new variant here in the United States. One of them is a patient in Minnesota and this is a person who was fully vaccinated and had a booster as well. So we're advising people to get vaccinated, get a booster -- but then we hear about this particular person that sounds like the symptoms are mild. What level of concern does this present?Dr. Rochelle Walensky: I think we have to understand the whole circumstance there. We're still learning a lot about this case and about all of the contacts. It may very well be that this case had been one of 1,000 people who had been exposed to Omicron. And this was the only case that turned positive, in which case it would have been indicated that our vaccines are working very well.It also is very helpful to understand that this person had mild symptoms that have, to my understanding, resolved pretty swiftly. So this may very well be actually a story of vaccine success and not necessarily one of vaccine failure.Travel restrictions by country following the Omicron variant outbreakDr. Sanjay Gupta: I do want to ask about this issue of natural immunity. It comes up quite a bit. People who have had Covid feel like they have this infection-acquired immunity, wondering why they still need to get the vaccine. It's been a lot of back and forth on this. Should there be some plan in place to be able to figure out if someone actually has antibodies, has immunity, and therefore doesn't either need to be vaccinated now, or get a booster now, whatever it may be?Dr. Rochelle Walensky: This is really an important question and still one that is under study. The thing I think that's really important to understand here is the more mutations you have in a variant, the more you would like to bolster your immunity to have as much immunity as possible to overcome that variant.And so what we know now with the Omicron variant is more immunity will be better. So if you have previously had an infection, you will definitely be more protected if you also get a vaccine. And that's really the goal here -- to try to provide the most amount of protection as possible so people will be protected against severe disease and ideally against infection altogether.Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Typically when something like this happens, we're used to hearing from the CDC right away. Do you think the country would have benefited from hearing from you when this variant actually came out?Losing your job because of vaccine mandates? You can collect unemployment benefits in these states.Dr. Rochelle Walensky: We were all working together through the holiday weekend and we had a statement as soon as this came out, and we intend to, and will continue to be fully transparent with all of the data that we are learning as soon as we are learning it.Dr. Sanjay Gupta: So you weren't being sidelined in any way.Dr. Rochelle Walensky: Oh, absolutely not. We have been collaborating and working through through the weekend all together.Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

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How many strains are there of this Covid? Does anyone know the % of people tested for COVID that they also determine the strain? It’s not done at the same time or in the same lab. This strain hype is just that. Extreme speculation when talking about waves We need a break. It’s been an exhausting 2 years

I made a LOT of Money in Moderna this past year....THANK YOU for the Fake VAXX Go get the TRUMP VACCINE! IT WORKS! Just ask Lebron! HAHAHAHAHHAHA Biden failed. Covid is worse under Biden Harris Unless bodies start piling up in the streets, go fuck yourselves! nah, biggest concern right now is the alpha male.

Yep, called it, they'll push the damn vaccine on us until there's a new one to push. All about money. I heard like 12 ambulances today. Probably been here the whole time. CDC has been a month behind since Corona began. Good thing Biden claimed ownership of the faux vaccine

WHO: Measures against Covid delta variant work for Omicron tooOmicron has been designated a variant of concern because of the number of mutations and because early information suggests it may be more transmissible than other variants of the virus.

Have NOT heard from her on any media platform for a very long time; why? Maybe we could use lighthearted names for these new strains? The butterfly variant, the cotton candy variant, the Mitch Hedburg variant? I like cup cakes. People still listen to these ppl? 😂😂 15 min of fame is up. NoMore Propoganda UnityForEthiopia RisingEthiopia Peace4Ethiopia EthiopiaPrevails StandWithEthiopia OneEthiopia DefendEthiopia Nomore intervention ,Nomore miss information !!!Stop false news about Ethiopia 🇪🇹 CNNLIES CNNFakeNews NoMore Ethiopia

Just want to say a very big thank you to Mrs lisamiaBTC and her company platform for their transparency, I had doubts at first but seeing I got paid I deemed it necessary to share with the general public and to let them know that you can be truly trusted..thank you so much. Who tf cares still Moving on...

Or it might not. OxfordHigh killers parent's caught AshleyStrohmier live FoxNews I am laying here trying to figure out just how the hell bags of cash checks got behind the wall in the bathroom of JoelOsteen lake wood church near Houston hmmmm 😮😮

In COVID Battle, Omicron May Outrun Delta, Experts SayThe genetic changes found in the new Omicron variant show that it could be passed more easily from person to person than Delta, according to the latest threat assessment from the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency. StaySafe WearMask Nothing to worry about Covid is forever but National controls must not be! Vaccination means that we all have sufficient immunity now. Breakthrough infections don't normally cause severe illness. Boosters will be necessary for the vulnerable but the rest of us can just get on with normal life. And the next variant all you’ll have to do is read about it to catch it?

As eighth U.S. state finds Omicron cases, Delta remains nation's top coronavirus threatThe Delta variant is still Americans' leading coronavirus health threat even as more reports surface of the Omicron strain in the United States on Friday amid concern that winter holidays may further the spread, experts said. 자신들은 은밀한 곳에서 죄를 지어도 아무도 보지 않는다고 생각 자신들은 은밀한 곳에서 죄를 지어도 아무도 보지 않는다고 생GrandMenengaiFour *for now Wish I knew what the sequencing was on my case. Feeling like shit and I’ve sneezed no less than 200 times now. Dry cough. Back hurts like crazy. No appetite, but still have smell and taste. NYC.

Six more U.S. states find Omicron cases, Delta still top U.S. coronavirus threatSix more U.S. states confirmed infections of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday but the Delta strain likely remains a greater threat as winter sets in and Americans gather for the holidays, experts said. Boring Delta is irrelevant. Can you please tell me how much the Alpha targeted vaccine protects against DELTA and OMICRON? Get that booster folks, it's all science, or some shit. Fake news

Covid cases on the rise again, but it's still delta, not omicron, driving the surgeMore and more cases of omicron are being detected in the U.S. but the delta variant is still driving the cases in the country. Yup and it’s the boosted Vaxed getting Covid. The media needs to stop with the farce. Vermont which is 80% vaxed, had a surge of positive cases. It’s a virus, it mutates, there’s new variants still coming. mitigate this risk. Or philosophy. I had severe pneumonia due to a viral infection 6 years ago and at that time I was unvaccinated. Amen We often catch colds, but most are cured with low-grade fever and mild symptoms such as cough and runny nose. However, you should remember that we rarely get serious or die depending on our health condition at the time. Vaccines are the latest medical technology to

COVID-19 cases on the rise again, but it’s still delta, not omicron, driving the surgeEven as more and more states report their first cases of the omicron variant, it’s still the super contagious delta variant that’s driving nearly all new COVID- Fake news Going through the Greek alphabet huh Yet most folks shrug it off or have no symptoms or very minor