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In Omicron Hot Spot, Somber Mood As South Africa Faces Variant

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FILE - Students from the Tshwane University of Technology make their way back to their residence in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. The world is racing to contain a new COVID-19 variant, which appears to be driving a surge in South Africa and is casting a pall there. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

(AP) — The overcast, drizzly skies match the somber mood at the Tshwane University of Technology, a hot spot in South Africa’s latest surge of COVID-19 cases, apparently driven by the new omicron variant.

The world is racing to contain that variant. It was first identified in southern Africa but is popping up around the globe. The variant’s risks are not yet understood.

Early evidence suggests it poses an increased risk that people who have already had COVID-19 could catch it again. It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it. Still, some experts are hopeful that vaccines will be at least somewhat effective and continue to encourage people to get inoculated.

 

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