New COVID-19 Variant Reported in South Africa

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529 as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. This variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa, but that does not necessarily mean that is where the Omicron variant originated. The South African government and its scientists have openly communicated with the global scientific community and continue to share information about the Omicron variant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


We know what it will take to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant – continue to wear a mask in public indoor setting in areas of substantial or high community transmission, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (or hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water), and physically distance (at least 6 feet apart) from others. The CDC also recommends that everyone over the age of 5 show their Acts of Love to their community and get their COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, everyone over 18 should get a booster shot if they are eligible.


It is important to continue following all rules and regulations put in place by your city, state, county, or Tribal health department. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. To learn more about the Omicron variant from the WHO, click here.