Over the weekend, the omicron variant of the coronavirus was discovered in three Washington counties. Health officials described the discovery of the new variant as imminent, as omicron is now found in about a third of US states.
Although dubbed the “variant of concern,” much remains to be seen about the new variant, including how quickly it spreads, whether it causes more or less severe disease than previous variants, and how effective current vaccines are against it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said on Sunday that early signs indicate it is less dangerous than the delta variant, but stressed the need for more information.
“We urge people to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to maximize their level of protection against any option,” State Health Minister Dr. Umayr Shah said Saturday. Vaccines are free and no health insurance is required.
We are updating this page with the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Seattle, the United States and the world. Click here to see real-time updates from previous days and all other information about the coronavirus, and here to see how we track the daily spread of the virus in Washington DC.