Early indications suggest the new Omicron coronavirus variant is not worse than prior strains and is possibly milder, according to the top infectious disease expert in the United States.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday it would take weeks to judge its severity.
Speaking to AFP, President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor said the new variant is "clearly highly transmissible" and potentially more so than Delta, which is the current dominant global strain.
Fauci stressed, however, that "it almost certainly is not more severe than Delta."
Omicron has now been detected in at least 38 countries.