The new coronavirus variant omicron has so far been found in 57 countries, the World Health Organization said, warning that the rate of hospitalization resulting from infection is likely to rise. The WHO said it needed more data to evaluate the severity of the disease caused by the new variant. “Even if the severity is equal or potentially even lower than for delta variant, it is expected that hospitalizations will increase if more people become infected and that there will be a time lag between an increase in the incidence of cases and an increase in the incidence of deaths,” it said.
The newest COVID variant was first detected in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean omicron originated there. It’s a sign of the country’s progress in gene sequencing.