News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

  • Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
  • If publishing online, please link to the original URL of the story.
  • Maintain any tagline at the bottom of the story.
  • With Direct Relief's permission, news publications can make changes such as localizing the content for a particular area, using a different headline, or shortening story text. To confirm edits are acceptable, please check with Direct Relief by clicking this link.
  • If new content is added to the original story — for example, a comment from a local official — a note with language to the effect of the following must be included: "Additional reporting by [reporter and organization]."
  • If republished stories are shared on social media, Direct Relief appreciates being tagged in the posts:
    • Twitter (@DirectRelief)
    • Facebook (@DirectRelief)
    • Instagram (@DirectRelief)

Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
  • Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
  • Do not digitally alter images.

Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

  • Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
  • Republishers may not sell Direct Relief's content.
  • Direct Relief's work is prohibited from populating web pages designed to improve rankings on search engines or solely to gain revenue from network-based advertisements.
  • Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
  • If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.

For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

New Covid-19 Variant Causes Concern Globally, Found in U.S.

Omicron variant leads to travel restrictions, fears of new wave



Medical staff process a Covid-19 test earlier this year. Concerns have arisen globally over the past week as the Omicron variant has been recorded in at least 24 countries. (Courtesy photo)

The Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was designated a variant of concern by the WHO on November 26, has led to a slew of travel restrictions around the world, as well as renewed concern about a forthcoming wave of infections. Most travel bans are focused on countries in southern Africa, even as the variant was found to be in Europe prior to when South African scientists identified it.

As of now, cases of this variant have been detected in the United States (California), and in at least 23 other countries. The highest number of confirmed Omicron variant cases is in the province of Gauteng in South Africa, where at the moment almost all new cases are of this variant. Last Saturday, over 3,200 cases were reported, up from 300 two weeks prior. Daily cases in South Africa exceeded 26,000 during July, during the Delta variant-driven surge.

The Omicron variant is causing a high level of concern due to the number of mutations detected on the so-called “spike protein” of the virus, which is the protein that allows the virus to enter and affect human cells. 

The high number of mutations does not necessarily imply that this variant will lead to a major wave of infections or increased rates of hospitalization and death. But given where these mutations occur in the viral protein, and the significant number of them all clustered together, there is high concern that Omicron could develop quickly into the most serious variant since Delta earlier this year, which led to havoc in India and other nations around the world.

According to the WHO, many fundamental questions remain surrounding this new variant, including crucial data points such as its rate of transmissibility, its virulence, and whether or not it will evade protections from the current Covid-19 vaccines. Current tests are detecting the new variant.

The emergence of new variants was anticipated by scientists, responders, and policymakers, who were concerned that the rate of vaccination in lower-resource areas of the world has been far too slow, particularly when compared to wealthier areas. This has enabled the virus to spread more widely in those areas, allowing more opportunities for it to mutate.

South African epidemiologists have placed all states at the status of “increased local monitoring,” which in previous waves led to subsequently high peaks:

Previous Covid-19 infection rates in South African states (South African Covid19 Modeling Consortium)

The South African Covid19 Modeling Consortium has reported that each state in South Africa, except for Northern Cape, is seeing significant upward shifts in their forecast curve:

Covid-19 case modeling in South African states (South African Covid19 Modeling Consortium)

Currently, the only state in South Africa demonstrating an uptick in new hospitalizations is Gauteng:

Daily admission to hospitals in Gauteng. South Africa (South African Covid19 Modeling Consortium)

Beyond immediate concerns about infection and mortality rates for the new variant, another major concern in southern Africa is the impact of the travel restrictions. Reports are already coming in for instance that South African labs are running low on reagents for testing, and resupply is complicated by the lack of plane access to the country.

Direct Relief is continuing to monitor the latest reports and accept requests from global partners in their response to continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

Direct Relief has delivered over $3 billion in medical aid, including more than 6 million vaccines, during the Covid19 pandemic. For more information click here.

Additional reporting contributed by Noah Smith.

Giving is Good Medicine

You don't have to donate. That's why it's so extraordinary if you do.