The new Omicron variant has been detected in six more states – bringing the overall total of states with cases to 11.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, and Utah each reported their first cases of the new variant on Friday.
Omicron has been detected in about 40 countries, including the United States, where it has already been found in New York, California, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s investigating possible cases of the Omicron variant in other states, but experts say the Delta strain of Covid-19 is likely a bigger threat as Americans gather for the holiday season.
Scientists are still investigating the impact of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa. Early evidence shows it may cause milder illness than its predecessors, including Delta.
The Omicron outbreak has led to leaders in the U.S. and abroad to impose extra Covid-19 restrictions. But the predominant U.S. strain remains Delta, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the state’s first Omicron case was found in a fully-vaccinated woman who had recently traveled to Georgia.
The Utah case was discovered through ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples at the state laboratory, the state’s health department said on Twitter.
Nebraska had six confirmed cases, its health department said. Only one of the six people was vaccinated, and none have needed to be hospitalized with COVID-19.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the first three cases in his state but said none of the individuals were hospitalized.
In Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia man in his 30s tested positive for Omicron, city health officials said.
Missouri was awaiting CDC confirmation of a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled within the United States.
With Post wire services