European authorities said Thursday that preliminary data from South Africa and mathematical modeling indicate that the omicron variant may outperform the delta strain and will account for more than half of coronavirus infections in the European Union within the next few months.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said it had detected 70 confirmed cases of omicron in 13 countries with the European Union and the European Economic Area.
The agency found a mixture of good and bad news – the strain first discovered in southern African countries appears to be on the move but does not cause serious illness.
The majority of confirmed cases have a history of travel to South African countries, with some taking connecting flights in other destinations between Africa and Europe. Several European countries have already reported community or home transmission.” “All cases for which information on the risk was available were either asymptomatic or mild. So far, there have been no serious cases and no deaths reported among these cases.”
Finally, 352 confirmed cases of omicron have been reported by 27 countries.
The first case was reported in the United States outside of California on Wednesday in a person who had been vaccinated, albeit not boosted, and returned from South Africa in late November.
President Biden will outline a series of steps Thursday designed to thwart the winter rise in the virus, including stricter rules on air travel to the United States and a rule that would force insurance companies to reimburse Americans for the cost of home tests.