The first case of the newly found COVID-19 variant omicron has been detected in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the variant has been detected within California in a person who recently traveled back to the USA from South Africa.
The first omicron case spreads concerns of a new outbreak
After returning from Africa on November 22, California’s resident started feeling symptoms; following this, he tested for the virus and came positive.
Reportedly, the person already received both doses of the coronavirus’ Moderna vaccine. He was not eligible for the booster dose yet, as the six months period after the second dose did not end.
BREAKING: A person in California has become the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the omicron variant of COVID-19, a U.S. official told @AP. It comes as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new strain of the virus. https://t.co/8F8bAqHSsK
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 1, 2021
The California and San Francisco Health Department issued a joint statement after the detection, praising the state of California for detecting the case at the early stage through the rigorous testing mechanism.
Likewise, the announcement noted using the state’s genome sequencing surveillance system, California is monitoring the progress of the variant’s spread.
Recommending people to remain vigilant, the joint statement noted people should not panic at all, as the state is increasing preventive measures to stop the spread.
Reportedly, California authorities are likely to put in place strict testing measures at airports for Americans coming from the affected countries.
Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom, the Democrat governor of California, found it as an opportunity to tout the booster vaccinations, recommending people to get their doses as soon as possible.
The governor noted after coming back to the US on November 22, the impacted person felt symptoms on November 25 and got tested on November 28. A day later, the results came back positive; therefore, the sample was sent to the University of California, where the omicron variant was detected.
Omicron variant continued crossing borders, despite travel bans
Dr. Fauci admired the infected person, saying he did the right thing to get tested after feeling symptoms, recommending other people to follow suit.
Likewise, Fauci added, for the time being, the CDC has no ongoing investigation against the spread of the omicron variant. The immediate contacts of the positive person have already been traced and tested by the authorities. All came back negative.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) called the strain “a variant of concern,” the US imposed a travel ban on eight South African nations. Many European countries which did the same also reported the omicron cases, showing the variant already crossed borders, despite countries’ attempts to keep it at bay.
Seek and you will find: Omicron is spreading around the world, but you can only find what you search for. Genomic sequencing remains severely limited across much of the world: 60% of covid-19 sequences in 2021 have taken place in 3 countries (US, GB & DE) https://t.co/A9knkX0TOr
— James Fransham (@JamesFransham) November 29, 2021
Meanwhile, the Biden administration extended the mask mandate for travelers using any transportation media to March 2022 to curb the flow of the omicron variant.
Initially, the administration extended the mandate until January 18. It is important to note that while imposing the travel ban, the Biden administration did not rule out the possibility that the omicron variant was already in the United States.