World Health Organization Admits New Variant Of COVID Is Not Different Than Others

( There has been a lot of fear around the world that the newest variant of the coronavirus, called Omicron, would be an even more infectious and deadlier strain than others in the past.

However, at this point, some of the top scientists in the United States and the World Health Organization said the variant is proving to be no worse than some of the other strains of COVID-19. At the same time, they have cautioned that there still needs to be more research conducted on the strain before it can be determined whether it’s more severe than other variants.

In the meantime, many nations are proceeding with caution. America has put travel restrictions on certain countries from southern Africa, while other countries have imposed more lockdowns and border restrictions as well.

On Tuesday, Michael Ryan, the emergencies director for the WHO, said that while Omicron could prove to be more transmissible that other variants, “the preliminary data don’t indicate that this is more severe … In fact, if anything, the direction is towards less severity.”

He added it’s “highly unlikely” Omicron would be able to circumvent the protections that people are currently getting from the various COVID-19 vaccines on the market. As Ryan explained:

“We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far, in terms of severe disease and hospitalization … There’s no reason to expect that it wouldn’t be so [for Omicron].”

This latest strain of COVID-19 was first discovered in South Africa, which is where the data that scientists have been analyzing came from. The initial cause for concern was that scientists discovered more than 30 mutations existed on the coronavirus’ spike protein. That’s what is on the surface of the virus, and what ultimately allows it to invade cells in people’s bodies and get them infected.

In the weeks since Omicron was identified in South Africa, however, data is actually giving people more cause for calm rather than cause for concern.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., agreed with much of what the WHO said. He believed it was possible that this new variant at the very least wasn’t worse than other strains, and could even be milder.

At the same time, Fauci said Omicron is “clearly highly transmissible,” and maybe even more so than the Delta variant, which has caused huge spikes in infections, hospitalizations and deaths around the world in recent months. The good news, though, as Fauci explained:

“It almost certainly is not more severe than Delta. There is some suggestion that it might even be less severe.”

As always scientists do, Fauci urged caution and patience with the Omicron variant. Much of the data that has been analyzed on it so far has come from a younger population, which would be less susceptible to severe outcomes from COVID-19.

In addition, there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done before a final determination can be made on just how serious Omicron is.