“Omicron” Could Take France within Weeks, Says Adviser
It is possible that Omicron will take the lead in Paris and Washington. COVID-19 variant in France by the end of January, according to France’s top scientific adviser, after both France and the United States reported their first cases.
A fully vaccinated Californian who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later was the first known case in the United States. The Ile de France region of greater Paris was the site of a reported case.
Reuters has learned that President Joe Biden is working on a strategy to combat COVID-19 this winter, and one step would be to extend the requirement for travelers to wear masks through mid-March. On Thursday, we can expect a formal announcement.
For international visitors, the White House intends to implement more stringent screening procedures.
Jean-Francois Delfraissy, a French government adviser, told BFM television that the “true enemy” for now was the Delta variant, which is spreading in a fifth wave.
Possibly by the end of January, the Omicron variant will take over from Delta, according to the author.
Last month, a case of Omicron was discovered in La Reunion, a French Indian Ocean island.
A letter from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to airlines in the United States instructing them to hand over the names of passengers arriving from parts of southern Africa was seen by Reuters.
Since its discovery on Nov. 8 in South Africa and subsequent spread to at least two dozen other countries, much about Omicron remains unknown. Its appearance came as parts of Europe were experiencing a spike in infections of the more well-known Delta strain as winter approached.
US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday that finding out how easily the variant spreads, how severe the illness it causes, and whether it can evade currently available vaccines could take two weeks or more.
According to South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Omicron was able to evade some immunity, but existing vaccines should still be able to prevent severe disease and death.
Omicron’s contagiousness should be known “within days,” according to WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove, who spoke at the briefing.
The CEO of BioNTech, a company that collaborates with Pfizer on a vaccine against Omicron, said the vaccine was likely to provide strong protection.
A lab study of GlaxoSmithKline’s antibody-based COVID-19 therapy, which is developing with Vir in the United States, found that the drug is effective against the Omicron variant.
A study of the COVID-19 antibody-drug by Regeneron found that it may be less effective against Omicron than previously thought, raising concerns about the efficacy of current treatments. Moderna’s CEO expressed similar concerns about the vaccine.
There have been fears in financial markets that new restrictions could stifle the tentative recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic because of Omicron’s increased contagiousness.
Futures for the Euro Stoxx 50 index fell 1.3% in early trading on Thursday, while the Japanese Nikkei 225 index and Australian S&P/ASX 200 index also fell. Wednesday’s major Wall Street averages fell more than 1% as investors reacted to the first case in the United States and growing inflation fears.
Hiroshi Suzuki, a board member of the Bank of Japan, warned that Japan’s economic recovery could fall short if the Omicron variant spreads or supply shortages persist.
As of Nov. 28, the World Health Organization reported that 56 countries had implemented travel restrictions to protect against Omicron.
Omicron variants of coronavirus have been confirmed in South Korea for the first time, and quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated inbound travelers have been halted for two weeks.
Nearly all foreigners who have visited one of eight southern African countries have been barred from entering the United States.
In order to prevent the spread of a new strain of measles, the European Union has pushed back the start of its vaccine rollout for 5- to 11-year-olds until Dec. 13.
As a result of the new variant, Britain and the United States have both increased their booster programs, but the WHO recommends that wealthy countries should instead distribute more vaccines to vulnerable people in poorer countries where variants are most likely to emerge.
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