- The man, who was fully vaccinated and has since recovered, traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the department said in a statement.
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday that there are currently no confirmed cases in the state.
- The first omicron case was confirmed in California by U.S. officials Wednesday in a person who recently returned to San Francisco from a trip to South Africa.
- The California patient was also fully vaccinated, showed mild symptoms and is recovering, according to state health authorities.
Minnesota public health authorities confirmed Thursday what appears to be the second U.S. case of the omicron Covid variant in a resident who recently returned from New York City, the state’s department of health said.
The man, who was fully vaccinated and has since recovered, traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the department said in a statement. The first omicron case was confirmed in California by U.S. officials Wednesday in a person who recently returned to San Francisco from a trip to South Africa.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said they haven’t yet confirmed any cases in the state. “However, we are very cognizant of the fact that it’s very likely soon that someone is going to test positive for this,” she said at a press conference in Manhattan on Thursday.
She said conference attendees were required to get vaccinated, and she recommended that they all get tested.
The patient in California who first tested positive for omicron was also fully vaccinated, has mild symptoms and is improving, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday. The person, who is between 18 and 49 years old, had not received a booster dose because they were not six months out from their original vaccination course, he said.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services secretary, said the fact that the California patient has mild symptoms and is improving underscores the importance of vaccines.
Health officials in the U.S. and around the world are concerned that omicron is more transmissible and may evade the protection provided by currently available vaccines to some degree. The variant has some 50 mutations, more than 30 of which are on the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells.
“The molecular profile of the kinds of mutations that you see [in omicron] would suggest that it might be more transmissible and that it might elude some of the protection of vaccines,” White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters on Wednesday. “But we don’t know that now.”
The Biden administration on Thursday laid out a plan to combat omicron and a possible winter surge of the predominant delta variant of the virus. The White house is requiring all in-bound international travelers to test for Covid within 24 hours of their departure. The administration is extending mask requirements on domestic flights and public transit through March 18. It is also expanding access to free at-home Covid tests.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday said omicron has been confirmed in at least 23 countries worldwide. The variant was first identified in Botswana last month and brought to the attention of the WHO by public health officials in South Africa.