On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron.
In an update to this story, on Wednesday it was confirmed that a case of the Omicron variant has been detected in California.
“We are grateful to the South African government and its scientists who have openly communicated with the global scientific community and continue to share information about this variant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC,” the CDC said in a statement. “We are working with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more about this variant, as we continue to monitor its path.”
CDC asserted that it is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country.
“We know what it takes to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said. “CDC recommends people follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others.
“CDC also recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. CDC encourages a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.”
Travelers to the U.S. as well as those traveling aborad should continue to follow CDC recommendations for traveling.
CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available.