Omicron is a
new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC is working
with other U.S. and global partners to learn more about this variant, as we
continue to monitor its path. CDC is continuously monitoring variants and
the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in
this country. Omicron was first detected in the United States on December 1,
2021, in a traveler who had returned to California from South Africa on
November 22, 2021. As we learn more, we should continue to take steps to
slow the spread of all variants, which will help slow the spread of Omicron.
considered a variant of concern (VOC) in the United States
and by the World Health Organization. Scientists are still working to better
understand Omicron, how it spreads, whether vaccines protect against it, and
how severe it is. We will update you as we learn more.
How can I
keep myself and others safe?
is still a lot we do not know about Omicron, we do know what prevention strategies help slow the spread of
COVID-19, regardless of the virus variant.
vaccinated – CDC recommends everyone 5
years or older protect themselves by getting fully vaccinated. Everyone 18 years or
older should also get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose when eligible.
- Wear a
mask – Everyone 2 years or older should wear a mask in
public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.
- Keep your
distance - Stay at least 6 feet away
from people outside your home and those within your home who are sick.
ventilation – Avoid crowds and poorly
ventilated spaces. Use the interactive ventilation tool to learn how
to reduce virus particles in your home.
- Test to
prevent spread – Consider using a self-test before joining indoor
gatherings with others who are not in your household.
your hands often – Wash hands with soap and water for at
least 20 seconds.