Health officials said the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. statesbut the Delta version is involved in the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, Reuters reported.
Though the emergence of the new variant has caused alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told CNN, "Thus far, it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it."
He added that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions and that more study is needed. Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said he also hoped the United States would lift its ban on travelers from southern African countries in a "reasonable period of time."
At least 16 U.S. states have reported Omicron cases: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
Despite several dozen Omicron cases, the Delta variant still accounts for 99.9% of new COVID cases in the United States, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC News.