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The Omicron Variant, Infected Deer, And Where The Pandemic Goes From Here

People wait in line at a walk-up vaccination site in Washington, DC.
People wait in line at a walk-up vaccination site in Washington, DC.

An estimated 53 million Americans returned from their holiday travel this weekend to news of a new variant of COVID-19.

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa and cases have since been reported in a growing number of countries including Germany, Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

So far, no cases have been reported in the U.S. But experts say it’s only a matter of time.President Joe Biden spoke yesterday about the new variant, telling Americans not to panic. 

But even as we consider the immediate concernsover Omicron, scientists arepointing to a longer-term issue: a growing number of animals becoming infected with COVID-19. These spillover events where germs jump from humansto animals and back againcan create new viral strains.

What does this mean for the state of the pandemic?

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven