Fauci – The Hollywood Reporter
A person in California who was immunized against COVID-19 has become the first person in the US to have a confirmed case of the omicron variant, the White House announced Wednesday as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the virus. new virus strains.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters that the person was a tourist who returned from South Africa on 22 November and tested positive on 29 November. Fauci said the person had been vaccinated but not yet. booster shot and are having “mild symptoms”.
Late last month, the Biden administration decided to restrict travel from South Africa, where the variant was first identified and has been widespread. Groups of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other countries.
“We know it is only a matter of time before the first omicron case is detected in the United States,” Fauci said.
Officials said they have contacted all of the people who were in close contact with the person and they have all tested negative.
Genome sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and sequencing was validated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking steps to tighten US testing rules for travelers from abroad, including requiring testing for all visitors within a day of travel. when boarding a flight to the United States regardless of immunization status. It is also considering making post-arrival checks mandatory.
Officials said those measures would only buy time for the country to learn more about the new variant and take the appropriate precautions, but that allowing it to reach the US was inevitable.
Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious than previous strains, whether it makes people sicker, and whether it could hinder vaccines. Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said more information about the omicron strain would be available within two to four weeks as scientists develop and test samples of the virus in the lab.
The announcement of the first US case comes before President Joe Biden plans to outline his strategy on Thursday to fight the virus over the winter. Biden tried to quash the warning about the omicron variation, saying it was cause for concern but “not a reason for panic”.
Biden and public health officials have become more urgent in urging more Americans to get vaccinated — and those already vaccinated should get booster shots to maximize protection against virus.