Omicron COVID Variant That May Resist Vaccines Found in These U.S. States, Countries

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in at least 30 states and 69 countries as it continues to spread.

The state and country data was reported by The New York Times on December 12, which showed that the variant has been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

This is a notable increase from just a few days prior.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that on December 8 Omicron had been found in a total of 22 states.

Meanwhile The New York Times reported the variant had been found in Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Réunion, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The above data shows an increase in the number of countries in which Omicron has been reported compared to the 57 countries reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 7.

Scientists are still trying to work out the characteristics of the Omicron variant, including how fast it spreads, how effective it is at resisting immunity, and how ill it makes people.

Early data, including a study from Pfizer and BioNTech, has suggested that the variant is effective at resisting immunity but that a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in addition to two earlier shots should provide strong protection.

Countries around the world, including the U.S., Australia, and the U.K., have all upped the pace of their booster vaccine rollouts in response to Omicron's spread.

Meanwhile, data from South Africa has suggested that Omicron might be milder than Delta in terms of the severity of the disease it causes, but scientists including WHO COVID lead Maria Van Kerkhove have warned that it's too soon to say that for sure.

The Omicron variant has hit some countries harder than others so far, with the U.K. having recently increased its COVID-19 threat level from three to four on its five-point scale, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning of a "tidal wave" of Omicron infections.

Heathrow Airport
Passengers wearing face masks walk through Heathrow airport in the U.K. on November 26, 2021. The Omicron variant of COVID has been found in dozens of countries. Leon Neal/Getty