Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in 5 states, a day after first case was reported in U.S.

The Omicron variant has now been detected in at the least 5 states, after a number of states introduced their first circumstances of the pressure on Thursday night time. No less than 10 whole circumstances have now been reported within the U.S., as native leaders are warning that the variant is now spreading inside some communities. 

New York, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Colorado have now reported circumstances.

Information of the circumstances comes simply in the future after California well being authorities and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention introduced the nation’s first case of the variant in a traveler who had returned to San Francisco from South Africa. Authorities in Colorado and Los Angeles have additionally introduced detecting circumstances of Omicron in vacationers coming back from Africa.

In try to curb the unfold of latest Omicron circumstances, President Biden mentioned Thursday he deliberate to tighten testing guidelines for worldwide flights as a part of a brand new technique to curb the virus. All passengers, no matter vaccination standing, must take a COVID-19 check inside simply in the future earlier than departure beginning on Monday. 

However officers in New York and Hawaii, who additionally reported Omicron circumstances on Thursday, say they consider the Omicron is already spreading of their communities.

“This isn’t simply as a result of people who find themselves touring to Southern Africa or to different components of the world the place Omicron has already been recognized. In order that’s crucial kind of epidemiological takeaway that we need to convey,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, New York Metropolis’s high well being official, instructed reporters on Thursday. 

What we all know concerning the newest circumstances

Hawaii introduced Thursday that it had recognized its first case of the Omicron variant, in a resident experiencing “delicate to reasonable” signs who seems to be the nation’s first reported case in an unvaccinated grownup. The particular person had beforehand survived a case of COVID-19 over a yr in the past, officers mentioned, and had no journey historical past outdoors of the island.

New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul mentioned Thursday that the state had confirmed 5 circumstances of the variant there, simply hours after Minnesota well being officers introduced they’d recognized their first case in a resident who had traveled to New York Metropolis in November for a conference that drew 1000’s of attendees.

One of many New York’s 5 circumstances is in a 67-year-old girl with “delicate signs” who had traveled to South Africa and has obtained at the least one dose of vaccine, New York Governor Kathy Hochul instructed reporters on Thursday. She returned to america on November 25 and examined constructive on November 30. New York officers mentioned they nonetheless had restricted details about the state’s different 4 circumstances, disclosing solely the regions the place they lived within the metropolis.

Authorities in New York don’t consider the 5 new circumstances recognized Thursday are linked to the Anime NYC 2021 conference attended by Minnesota’s first recognized Omicron case. Contact tracing has solely lately begun for the 53,000 attendees who could have been uncovered to the variant there, after organizers of the conference mentioned they had been cooperating with New York’s investigation.

“All attendees ought to obtain an electronic mail or name from the NYC Check and Hint Corps or their native well being departments with additional data and really useful subsequent steps. You might be strongly suggested to get examined,” the Anime NYC 2021 organizers mentioned in a Twitter post.

Getting ready for extra circumstances

Instances of the Omicron variant have been reported in at the least 27 nations, European well being officers warned on Thursday. Not all circumstances in Europe have been linked to current journey overseas, suggesting group unfold of the variant there as nicely. 

Nearly all of circumstances attributable to Omicron outdoors Africa have been delicate to date, although well being officers have warned that wholesome, younger, vaccinated vacationers are at decrease danger of extreme illness than the final inhabitants. 

Consultants have additionally warned that Omicron’s important variety of mutations might erode the safety provided by antibodies, particularly these from surviving a earlier an infection. Preliminary outcomes launched as a preprint from South Africa, which haven’t but been peer-reviewed, recommend a heightened danger of reinfection from the brand new variant of concern.

Hochul mentioned New York state was not planning new shutdowns or guidelines to curb the variant, however was urging residents to get vaccinated, put on masks, and keep away from massive gatherings.

“The very best factor that everybody can do is notice we’re not defenseless towards this variant in any respect,” Hochul mentioned. 

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