U.S. health officials say that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations.
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity. But reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.
Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday.
Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries.
Wisconsin officials detected the first person with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the state. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says the man had recently traveled to South Africa.
Public health officials in California have also linked an outbreak of at least five people with the omicron variant to a Wisconsin wedding last month.