An indication exterior of a hospital advertises COVID-19 testing on November 19, 2021 in New York Metropolis.
Spencer Platt | Getty Pictures
Minnesota public well being authorities confirmed Thursday what seems to be the second U.S. case of the omicron Covid variant in a resident who just lately returned from New York Metropolis, the state’s division of well being mentioned.
The person, who was absolutely vaccinated and has since recovered, traveled to New York Metropolis to attend the Anime NYC 2021 conference on the Javits Middle from Nov. 19-21, the division mentioned in a press release. The primary omicron case was confirmed in California by U.S. officers Wednesday in an individual who just lately returned to San Francisco from a visit to South Africa.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned on Thursday that there are presently no confirmed circumstances within the state.
“There’s a record of people who attended and in addition they had been vaccinated with a purpose to go into this convention within the first place,” Hochul mentioned throughout a press convention.
Well being officers within the U.S. and around the globe are involved that omicron is extra transmissible and will evade the safety supplied by presently obtainable vaccines to some extent. The variant has some 50 mutations, greater than 30 of that are on the spike protein that the virus makes use of to connect to human cells.
“The molecular profile of the sorts of mutations that you simply see [in omicron] would recommend that it is perhaps extra transmissible and that it’d elude among the safety of vaccines,” White Home chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci informed reporters on Wednesday. “However we do not know that now.”
The Biden administration on Thursday laid out a plan to fight omicron and a attainable winter surge of the predominant delta variant of the virus. The White home is requiring all in-bound worldwide vacationers to check for Covid inside 24 hours of their departure. The administration is extending masks necessities on home flights and public transit by means of March 18. It’s also increasing entry to free at-home Covid exams.
The World Well being Group on Wednesday mentioned omicron has been confirmed in at the very least 23 nations worldwide. The variant was first recognized in Botswana final month and dropped at the eye of the WHO by public well being officers in South Africa.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead, mentioned on Wednesday that hospitalizations are rising in South Africa, however extra information is required earlier than drawing conclusions about whether or not omicron causes extra extreme illness.
The affected person in California who examined constructive for omicron was absolutely vaccinated, has delicate signs and is bettering, Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned on Wednesday. The individual, who’s between 18 and 49 years outdated, had not acquired a booster dose as a result of they weren’t six months out from their unique vaccination course.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Well being and Human Providers secretary, mentioned the truth that the affected person has delicate signs and is bettering underscores the significance of vaccines.
The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna say it’ll take about two weeks to assemble sufficient information to find out what affect omicron’s mutations have on the effectiveness of the present vaccines. They’ve mentioned it will take till early 2022 to develop a shot that particularly targets the variant. Nonetheless, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel mentioned the corporate can roll out a better dosage booster shot a lot faster.
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