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Morning Brief: Omicron, LA Gets Sued, And The History Of Dessert

A needle and vial of COVID-19 vaccine is in focus as a masked healthcare worker wearing glasses touches the needle with a gloved finger.
A first dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA on Aug. 7, 2021.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Nov. 29.

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the omicron strain of the coronavirus, which was first identified in South Africa, an official variant of concern. So far, cases have also been identified in Botswana, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.

The variant hasn’t been found in the U.S. yet, but Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the director of the California Department of Public Health, said that state health officials are watching for it.

“California is closely monitoring the new Omicron variant, which has not yet arrived in California or the U.S.,” he said. “Vaccines continue to be our best way through the pandemic by safely protecting us against severe illness from COVID-19 and its variants.”

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The L.A. County Department of Public Health issued a statement as well, noting that “the Delta variant remains the dominate [sic] variant detected among LA County residents and continues to account for 100% of cases sequenced,” but emphasizing the need for residents to adhere to masking requirements and get vaccinated.

Part of the reason for local officials’ vigilance is the expectation that it’s only a matter of time before omicron makes its way to the U.S. Speaking to ABC's This Week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor, expressed his concern about the country’s readiness.

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"As we all know, when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here," he said. "The question is: Will we be prepared for it?"

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The mother of a man who was shot and killed by an L.A. Sheriff’s deputy is suing the county.
  •  The official start to holiday shopping comes with more L.A. police officers patrolling high-end malls to deter smash-and-grab robberies. 
  • College apps for UCs and CSUs are due November 30, which means it’s crunch time for high school seniors.

Before You Go ... A Graphic Novel Exploring The History Of Dessert

If you want to explore the sweet life with a guided tour of treats from around the world, pick up Yummy: A History of Desserts. Cartoonist Victoria Grace Elliott's new graphic novel takes readers on a global tour with recipes, history and adorable illustrations.

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