According to the chief American infectious disease specialist, it will take several more weeks to make final conclusions about the new strain of coronavirus.

Preliminary research results show that the new strain of COVID-19 Omicron is more contagious, but causes less severe symptoms in sick people, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief infectious disease specialist of the United States, said.

During a briefing at the White House, Fauci said that the first patients infected with Omicron are statistically less likely to need hospitalization and oxygen devices. According to him, additional data are expected next week, but it will take several more weeks to make final conclusions.

The United States is constantly reviewing restrictions on entry from some South African countries where omicron was first detected, but these measures will remain in force for a “reasonable period of time,” Jeff Zients, the White House coordinator for combating COVID-19, said at a briefing.

Zients added that over the past week, U.S. residents have received 12.5 million doses of vaccines, including 7 million booster doses, which is a record since May.