As people wait in long lines to get tested before the holidays, the Omicron coronavirus variant is spreading fast. The World Health Organization said Saturday the number of cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission.
Now reported in 89 countries, the agency said Omicron is spreading much faster than the Delta strain in such regions.
Not much is still known about it three weeks after the WHO designated Omicron a variant of concern.
The agency says more data are needed to judge the severity of the illness it causes. It said Omicron is spread rapidly in countries with high levels of population immunity. But it’s unclear if that’s due to its ability to evade immunity, its inherent increased transmissibility, or a combination of both.
It warns that hospitals could be overwhelmed in some places.