Scientists in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first discovered, though the variant first emerged in Europe, issued a warning that reinfection is more common with the Omicron variant.

The Omicron variant is more likely than other variants to reinfect someone who has already had COVID-19. While the findings have not gone under scientific review, the news confirms people’s fears that the Omicron variant is more contagious than earlier variants, including Delta and Beta.

According to the study, done in South Africa, there is a “substantial and ongoing increase in the risk of reinfection that is temporally consistent with the timing of the emergence of the Omicron variant . . . suggesting that its selection advantage is at least partially driven by an increased ability to infect previously infected individuals.”

So far there have been five recorded Omicron variant infections in New York, with infections rising around the world. The news comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the Omicron variant may be more contagious than previously feared.

U.S. President Joe Biden also announced further travel restrictions on international travelers but has said that there is no need for lockdowns in the U.S.

The U.S. was met with stiff criticism after blocking international travel from many South African countries, some of which at the time did not detect a case of the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, countries outside of the South African region did detect cases of the Omicron variant but were not subject to the same regulations.

Many wonder whether vaccinations and current therapeutics or medicines will be effective against the Omicron variant, but no one can say for sure. Vaccine makers, including Moderna and Pfizer, are already at work trying to modify their shots to tackle the Omicron variant if necessary.