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Omicron variant of COVID-19 present in a number of US states

The omicron variant of COVID-19, which had been undetected within the U.S. earlier than the center of this week, had been found in a minimum of 5 states by the top of Thursday, displaying but once more how mutations of the virus can circumnavigate the globe with pace and ease.

Only a day after the primary recognized U.S. case was present in California, assessments confirmed the omicron variant had contaminated a minimum of 5 individuals within the New York Metropolis metropolitan space, plus a person from Minnesota who had attended an anime conference in Manhattan in late November.


A Colorado lady who had just lately traveled to southern Africa, a Hawaii resident with no latest journey historical past, and one other California resident who traveled to South Africa final month additionally had been contaminated by the variant, officers mentioned.

A lot stays unknown about omicron, together with whether or not it’s extra contagious, as some well being authorities suspect, whether or not it will possibly thwart vaccines and whether or not it makes individuals as sick as the unique pressure.

Well being officers in every state mentioned there was no trigger for undue alarm. However the unfold of the circumstances, some involving individuals who hadn’t been away from dwelling just lately, meant the variant was seemingly already circulating domestically in some elements of the U.S.

“We gotta assume there’s much more behind that and that it has been right here for a significant period of time,” New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned at a information convention with Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The contaminated New Yorkers included a 67-year-old lady on Lengthy Island who had just lately traveled to South Africa, residents of Brooklyn and Queens and one other case probably linked to journey. No less than one individual had obtained a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine however officers didn’t have particulars concerning the vaccination standing of the 4 different circumstances.

A mobile COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot site operates out of a bus on 59th Street south of Central Park as patients wait on the sidewalk, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in New York.

A cellular COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot web site operates out of a bus on 59th Road south of Central Park as sufferers wait on the sidewalk, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in New York. (AP Picture/John Minchillo)

In Minnesota, well being officers mentioned a person who had not traveled exterior the U.S. started experiencing signs the day after attending the Anime NYC 2021 conference in New York Metropolis. Minnesota Well being Commissioner Jan Malcolm mentioned it’s seemingly the person contracted COVID-19 on the conference, however officers didn’t know for positive.

Officers in New York mentioned they had been working to hint attendees of the conference, which was held Nov. 19-21 and drew about 50,000 individuals, in accordance with occasion organizers. Attendees had been required to put on masks and present proof of getting obtained a minimum of one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

It was held on the Jacob Okay. Javits Conference Middle as New York Metropolis ready to host the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and braced for throngs of vacationers to return after the U.S. opened as much as vaccinated worldwide vacationers.

Metropolis Well being Commissioner Dave Chokshi urged individuals who attended the occasion to get examined.


“This isn’t simply resulting from people who find themselves touring to southern Africa or to different elements of the world the place omicron has already been recognized,” Chokshi mentioned Thursday.

The Minnesota man started experiencing gentle signs Nov. 22. He had been vaccinated and obtained a booster shot in early November, in accordance with well being officers in his dwelling state. He sought COVID-19 testing Nov. 24, and his signs have subsided, officers mentioned.

Nov. 22 was the identical day the individual contaminated within the first California case returned to the U.S. from South Africa. The California traveler, who was vaccinated, developed gentle signs and examined constructive Monday. The second individual within the state didn’t want medical care and was additionally vaccinated.

The unvaccinated grownup contaminated with the variant in Hawaii had gotten COVID-19 a 12 months in the past. The individual isn’t at the moment hospitalized and had “mild-to-moderate” signs together with headache, physique aches and cough, Hawaii Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble mentioned.

She wouldn’t establish the affected person different to say the individual lives on the island of Oahu.

Omicron is classed by the World Well being Group as a “variant of concern” as scientists work to find out the way it could evaluate with the predominant delta variant when it comes to transmissibility and severity. Scientists are also finding out the diploma to which present vaccines and therapies shield towards omicron.

Scientists in South Africa first reported it, however the samples got here from a number of nations in southern Africa. And well being officers within the Netherlands now say it was discovered there previous to the South Africa detection.

As consolation over air journey returns, it’s inevitable that new variants like omicron will unfold from nation to nation and state to state, mentioned professor Danielle Ompad, an epidemiologist at New York College’s College of International Public Well being.


“We shouldn’t panic, however we needs to be involved,” she mentioned.

Hochul mentioned the case involving the Minnesota customer underlined the necessity for everybody who’s eligible to get vaccinated towards COVID-19 or obtain a booster shot in the event that they haven’t already.

“There’s one solution to handle this — New Yorkers, get vaccinated, get boosted, and prepare,” the Democrat mentioned.

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