Omicron variant was in California weeks ago, water sample suggests

California

The Omicron strain of the coronavirus was detected in California’s wastewater last month, even before the World Health Organization declared it a “variant of concern,” lab data suggests.

In a statement to The Times, the California Department of Public Health said that a sample of wastewater collected in Merced County on Nov. 25 contained a mutation that suggests the Omicron variant was present in California at that time.

That’s one day after South African scientists informed the World Health Organization of the new variant and a day before the WHO gave it the name Omicron and declared it the newest coronavirus variant of concern.

The finding reinforces observations that scientists have made in recent weeks: that Omicron was rapidly spreading across the world before global health officials were aware it existed.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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