The omicron variant first discovered in South Africa last week is likely to quickly spread around the globe, possibly with "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 associated with omicron differ from those associated with other variants. No deaths linked to the omicron variant have been reported, WHO added.
The U.S. will need about two more weeks to learn more definitive information about the omicron variant's transmissibility and severity, Dr. Anthony Fauci told President Joe Biden on Sunday, the White House said in a statement. The variant already has been identified in countries across the world, including France, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.
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