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November 26, 2021
A new variant of coronavirus initially detected in South Africa is prompting renewed concern regarding the pandemic. On Nov. 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the new variant “Omicron.” Omicron was labeled a “variant of concern,” the agency’s most serious category for tracking. Such a designation is reserved for dangerous variants that may be more transmissible or virulent or could decrease the effectiveness of vaccines or treatments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that Omicron has yet to be detected in the United States. However, Omicron has been detected in numerous countries, including Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa and Switzerland. Several countries, including the United States, have already restricted travel while waiting for health experts to learn more about the potentially dangerous variant.