The United States’ first confirmed case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in California.
On Wednesday (Dec. 1), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about the new Omicron case during a White House briefing. He said the case stemmed from an individual who recently traveled from South Africa. A few days after that person returned home, they tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci said the individual is fully vaccinated and experiencing “mild symptoms, which are improving at this point.” The traveler is also self-quarantining and those who have been in contact with that person have tested negative for Coronavirus so far.
According to CNN, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health confirmed that the person’s illness was caused by the Omicron variant. As REVOLT previously reported, the Omicron variant likely spread throughout Europe before it was discovered in South Africa last month. The World Health Organization (WHO) characterized Omicron as a “variant of concern.” The group also stated that the variant posed a “very high” global risk.
President Joe Biden has already restricted travel to certain countries to prevent the spread of the Omicron strain, but he will not reimpose lockdown policies, telling reporters that “if people are vaccinated and wear their masks, there’s no need for the lockdown.”
Scientists are now working to figure out how sick the new variant makes people, how transmissible it is and how well the vaccine and booster shots work against it. Until more information is determined, health officials are urging everyone over the age of five to get the vaccine and booster shots. Other measures, such as wearing a mask, handwashing, ventilation and social distancing, will also work to fight the spread of the new Omicron variant.