WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (KUNA) -- Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical adviser, said on Tuesday that the new variant, dubbed Omicron, "might be and I underscore "might" be less severe, as shown by the ratio of hospitalizations per number of new cases.
In a press conference, Fauci noted "however, this could be influenced by the fact that many in this particular cohort are young individuals."
Fauci noted that the virus also appears more transmissible, but offered the same caveat that it's still early.
"Real-world evidence is accumulating rapidly, literally on a daily basis, to allow us to determine increase in cases, possible increase in reproductive number and the rapid replacement of delta by omicron in certain situations," he said.
Fauci also said data about the effectiveness of vaccines on the variant could start to be ready by the middle of next week.
It's too early to be able to determine the precise severity of disease, but inklings that we are getting, and we must remember these are still in the form of anecdotal, but hopefully in the next few weeks we'll get a much clearer picture.
But it appears that with the cases that are seen, we are not seeing a very severe profile of disease.
The hospital stays seems to be less and the use of supplemental oxygen needs to be less.
The omicron variant has been found in at least 19 US states and 50 countries, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said. (end)