Omicron was first identified in the Washington region earlier this month, when three cases were detected in the Baltimore area. The variant has been identified in at least 30 states, according to a Washington Post tally.
Omicron has been noted as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization and the CDC. Scientists say preliminary data suggests it may cause milder cases of covid-19 than those from the delta variant.
Here’s what to know
- European health officials said Sunday there have been 766 confirmed omicron cases in the region, and of those patients for whom they have information on severity, all were either asymptomatic or mildly ill.
- The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, tested positive on Sunday for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms, his office said. He is fully vaccinated.
- Long covid is destroying careers and leaving economic distress in its wake. Do you think you’re experiencing long-haul covid symptoms? Share your experience with The Post.
MORE ON THE OMICRON VARIANT
Key coronavirus updates from around the world
Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.
D.C. announces first four cases of omicron variant
Four unrelated cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus were confirmed Sunday in the District, the city’s health department said. These were apparently the first such cases to be found in Washington of the variant that is rapidly spreading in many countries.
City health officials said the four people who have the variant are:
- A woman who had traveled within the United States to Florida and New York. She was fully vaccinated but without the booster shot.
- A woman who traveled to Maryland during the Thanksgiving holiday. She was fully vaccinated, but it was not known whether she had received a booster shot.
- A man who is not known to have traveled. He was fully vaccinated, but it was not known whether he had received a booster shot.
- A woman who had been to Virginia during the holiday. She had been fully vaccinated, but it was not known whether she had received a booster shot.
Foreign travelers to Brazil must be vaccinated, high court rules in challenge to unvaccinated Bolsonaro
Brazil’s supreme court has ruled that foreign travelers must show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus to enter the country — a blow to President Jair Bolsonaro, who is unvaccinated and has repeatedly rejected requests to impose a vaccine mandate in a country that has the world’s second-highest death toll after the United States.
Justice Luís Roberto Barroso cited “the threat of [current policies] promoting anti-vaccine tourism” as grounds for the ruling Saturday, Al Jazeera reported.
It is not clear when the new requirements will be implemented. Barroso’s ruling will be reviewed next week by the 10 other judges who make up Brazil’s highest court, according to Al Jazeera.
Omicron cases in Europe are asymptomatic or mild, health authority says
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said on Sunday that of the confirmed omicron cases it had severity information on, all were asymptomatic or mild.
As of Sunday, 766 omicron cases had been confirmed in the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, the center said. It added that there had not been any omicron-related deaths reported in the region.
The center cautioned that while the information was encouraging, it should be “assessed with caution, as the number of confirmed cases is too low” to fully determine whether the illness caused by the omicron variant differs from that of delta or other variants.
Scientists have yet to ascertain the full scope of the omicron variant, though health officials, including Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, have said that initial reports indicating the variant could be mild are encouraging.
Omicron was quickly categorized by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern” because of its plethora of mutations. A complete profile of its traits could come within the next few weeks, scientists say.
Germany’s ‘Fauci,’ a Harvard-educated doctor, gets ready to tackle the pandemic
By William Glucroft4:02 a.m.
BERLIN — After the chancellor himself, one of the most scrutinized positions in Germany’s new government is the health minister, a doctor who is a household name and has received death threats for his stern advice on handling the coronavirus pandemic.
Karl Lauterbach, a 58-year-old with Harvard degrees in public health and epidemiology, became a kind of Anthony S. Fauci equivalent as the pandemic unfolded and he was constantly in the public eye on German TV and in social media. He became known for his strict prescriptions for how Germany could protect itself from the spread of the disease.
There was even a “wewantkarl” Twitter hashtag supporting his candidacy in the run-up to his appointment.