RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – An initial look at U.S. cases of the Omicron variant finds so far the strain has caused a mild COVID-19 infection.
The CDC released a report based on the initial 43 cases of detected in the country. Only one of those patients landed in the hospital and none have died. Of this group, a third had traveled internationally. Almost 80 percent of those patients were vaccinated. Several had received a booster.
Looking at symptoms, cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose were the most common.
The CDC said most of patients were exposed to the virus through international and domestic travel, large public events and household transmission.
Vaccination, masking, improving ventilation, testing, quarantine and isolation are still recommended as measures to slow transmission.
Early reports from South Africa, where the variant originated, showed infections were largely mild. Of those hospitalized, 70 percent did not need to be put on oxygen. The average hospital stay for an omicron patient there was just under three days. For the last 18 months, the average stay was just over eight days.
As researchers learn more about the variant, here is what the CDC is saying about the most asked questions related to the virus:
How easily does omicron spread? The omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily omicron spreads compared to delta remains unknown.
Will omicron cause more severe illness? More data are needed to know if omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
Will vaccines work against omicron? Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant.
Will treatments work against omicron? Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.