The world is watching southern Africa closely to see how the heavily-mutated variant impacts cases, hospitalizations and vaccine efficacy.
Early data suggests that omicron is more transmissible than the globally dominant delta variant.
But it may cause less severe illness and could undermine existing Covid vaccines.
Since the omicron Covid variant was first detected in South Africa in November, the world has been watching the country closely to see how the heavily-mutated variant impacts case rates, hospitalizations and vaccine efficacy.
Early indications are mixed, with preliminary data out of South Africa suggesting that omicron is more transmissible than the globally dominant delta variant, but causes less severe illness.
The effectiveness of Covid vaccines against the variant is also being investigated, with vaccine maker Pfizer-BioNTech releasing results from an initial lab study which showed that the effectiveness of the initial two-dose vaccination series fell significantly against omicron, but that a booster shot restored protection.
The World Health Organization declared the variant "of concern" two days after South Africa reported it on Nov. 24. Since then, it has been identified in 57 countries across the world.
CNBC has compiled charts reflecting case rates, hospitalizations and the degree of Covid vaccine protection in South Africa as omicron takes hold.
The Covid infection rate has surged in South Africa since the second week of November, with 62,021 new cases reported between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, a 111% increase compared to the previous week, according to the WHO's latest weekly report published Tuesday.
It's not possible to tell if all those cases are omicron, although the variant is reported to be dominant in the country right now.
WHO added in its report that there have also been "very large increases" in the weekly incidence of Covid cases in some countries neighboring South Africa with Eswatini seeing a 1,990% surge from the week before, Zimbabwe seeing a 1,361% increase, Mozambique seeing a 1,207% increase with Namibia (681%) and Lesotho (219%) also recording increases to a smaller degree.