Do not panic over latest COVID variant, Biden says

The omicron variant first discovered in South Africa last week is likely to quickly spread around the globe and could result in “severe consequences,” the World Health Organization warned Monday.

“There could be future surges of COVID-19, which could have severe consequences depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place,” the WHO said in a technical brief. “The overall global risk related to the (omicron variant) is assessed as very high.”

The WHO said there is currently no information to suggest symptoms connected with omicron differ from those associated with other variants. No deaths linked to the omicron variant have been reported, the WHO added. However, it said preliminary evidence raises the possibility the variant has mutations that could help it both evade an immune-system response and make it more transmissible.

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