The Omicron variant of Covid-19, which has been undetected in the United States before the middle of this week, has been discovered in five US states by the end of Thursday.
According to this MSNBC Live Stream, the first-known US case was found in California. The further test series reflected that the virus had infected at least five people in New York City and a man from Minnesota who had attended the anime convention in Manhattan in late November.
Officials in NY said they are trying to trace the convention attendees, held on November 19, 2021. It was organized at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Dave Chokshi, the city health minister, has requested all the convention attendees to get tested. He said, “The Omicron variant is spreading not just due to people who have traveled to South Africa or other parts of the world.” It’s also unclear whether new cases in New York city are related to the convention at Javits Center or not, keeping in mind that contact tracing had only just begun.
Officials also reported that the Omicron variant also infected a Colorado woman who had recently traveled to South Africa. The reports also confirmed another case in Hawaii where an unvaccinated resident with no travel history was affected by this variant. However, the symptoms in all the affected US citizens are mild, and they are recovering, according to the health officials.
What raises the fear among the officials and residents is that most facts about this variant are still unknown, including whether it is more contagious, severe, or whether it can make people as sick as the original virus, or whether vaccines will help combat this variant or not.
Health officials claim that the situation is under control and there is no need for undue alarm. Hochul said, “Let me be clear: This is not a cause for alarm. We already knew that the Omicron variant is coming, and we had the tools to stop the spread. So get your vaccine, get a booster, and wear your mask.”
However, the spread of the Omicron variant in people with no past travel history indicates that the virus is already circulating domestically in some parts of the US. The New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, said at a news conference, “We are assuming that there’s a lot more behind this variant, and it has been here for a meaningful amount of time.”
A Variant of Concern
WHO has recently classified Omicron as a “Variant of Concern.” Scientists are working to evaluate the spread-ability and health risks of Omicron by comparing it with other Covid-19 variants. They are also determining the degree to which existing vaccines can combat this virus.
An epidemiologist at NY University’s School of Global Public Health, Danielle Ompad, said, “As restrictions over air travel fade, it’s inevitable that new variants like Omicron will easily spread from one country to another. We shouldn’t panic but should be concerned.”
There’s only one way to address the problem – Get vaccinated, get a booster, and get ready, as Covid-19 is all set to shake the world again with its latest mutation Omicron.
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