The second and third known cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday in the United States, an indication that the infection is likely to spread across the country.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis tweeted a midday alert saying omicrons were detected in the state and urges people to “Get vaccinated, stay healthy, follow basic public health guidelines.”
NS Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the infected person was an adult woman who had recently returned from southern Africa, where the variant was first identified. The woman who received the vaccine, but did not receive the booster, had mild symptoms, the department said.
Earlier on Thursday, US health officials and New York City said they were working closely with authorities in Minnesota after that state. The country’s second confirmed case report of variation.
The Minnesota Department of Health said a state resident who recently traveled to New York City was found to be infected with this variant. The man who experienced mild symptoms on November 22 was tested on November 24 and is no longer symptomatic.
First US case has been reported in California on Wednesday. Scientists first reported on this variant in South Africa, but the samples came from several countries in southern Africa.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency has been monitoring and preparing for omicrons and is working with public health officials in Minnesota.
“CDC has expanded its genome sequencing capabilities over the past nine months, and we have more tools to combat the variant than we had at this time last year,” she said in a statement. An announcement.
She said that vaccines, boosters, wearing masks in indoor public places, washing hands frequently and staying away from the body “work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of genetic sequence.” transmission”.
In laying out his multi-level plan to protect Americans from COVID-19 over the winter, President Joe Biden said infections are expected to increase and that the best protection against them is a vaccine. – Ask and inject again.
“Our doctors and scientists believe that people who get booster shots are better protected than ever from COVID-19,” Biden said, calling on the 100 million eligible adults to remain. have not received a free booster shot.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s public health officials were aware of the Minnesota case and its connection to travel to New York. Conferences that tourists attend must wear masks and comply with the city’s vaccination requirements, he said.
“We should assume there is community transmission of this variation in our city,” de Blasio said.
Also in the news:
►A new study, involving NBA players, their families and staff, has found that people with breakthrough COVID-19 cases stop producing the virus two days earlier than an unvaccinated person.
►Vaccines suddenly became scarce in some parts of Oregon after months of vaccine surpluses in the state and across the country, officials said.
📈Today’s number: The United States has recorded more than 48.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 782,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global total: Over 263.6 million cases and 5.2 million deaths. More than 197 million Americans – about 59.4% of the population – are fully immunized, According to CDC.
📘 What we are reading: The first case of the omicron coronavirus variant in the United States was confirmed on Wednesday. How did scientists find it?
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Tighter travel rules, free home tests and booster injections are key elements of President Joe Biden’s latest take strategies to combat the rapidly evolving coronavirus. So the call for Americans to come together to try to defeat the virus could become even more deadly with the emergence of a new omicron variant.
Biden emphasized that he was not expanding or adding immunization requirements when presenting Thursday about his multi-pronged approach to confronting COVID-19 in the coming months.
“My plan that I’m announcing today is going to take no punches in the fight against COVID-19,” Biden said. “It’s a plan that I think should unite us.”
Biden’s plan, promoted during a visit to the National Institutes of Health as people begin to prepare for winter and gather for the holiday, includes the following highlights:
- Require travelers entering the country by air to test negative for COVID within one day of departure, regardless of immunization status or nationality, rather than within three days.
- Extended until March 18, face masks are required on planes, trains and public transport.
- Asking private health insurance companies to cover 100% of the cost of home coronavirus testing.
- Launch a public education campaign to encourage 100 million adults to take health-promoting drugs, with a particular focus on seniors.
“We have the best tools, the best vaccines in the world, and the best drugs and the best doctors,” Biden said.
– Maureen Groppe
GlaxoSmithKline says its COVID-19 antibody drug appears to be effective against the omicron variant based on initial laboratory testing. The British drugmaker said it hopes to complete the trial by the end of the year to confirm whether the drug is effective against all the different mutations seen in the variant. Thursday’s announcement is one of the first signs that at least some existing COVID-19 treatments will retain their potency against the emerging virus.
On Tuesday, drug maker Regeneron warned that its antibody cocktail appeared to lose effectiveness against omicrons.
German Who is not vaccinated? will be excluded from non-essential shops as well as cultural and entertainment venues, and the German parliament is also considering a general mandatory regulation of vaccines. Officials have also agreed to require masks in German schools, impose new limits on private meetings, reduce participation in outdoor sports up to 15,000 people and set a goal of 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that the measures were necessary amid concerns that hospitals in Germany could become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Infection is more likely to be debilitating in unvaccinated people.
“The situation in our country is very serious,” Merkel said.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Florida, patients who recovered from severe COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to die in the year after becoming ill compared with those who had not been infected with the virus. Published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine. The researchers found that among patients who recovered from severe COVID-19 infection and then died, death was caused by cardiovascular, respiratory and blood-clotting problems – common complications of COVID-19 infection – accounting for only 20% of deaths.
“These findings further reinforce that organ trauma from being sick to the point of being hospitalized with COVID-19 has major health consequences for people,” said Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator, said. “This is a huge complication of COVID-19 that has not been demonstrated before.”
The number of global cases again exceeds 4 million per week, after spending most of October around 3 million per week. One of the biggest increases has been in South Africa, where cases are being reported about 11 times faster than a month earlier. The country was the first to identify the omicron variant, which some experts fear could spread rapidly.
Parts of Europe have also seen a strong resurgence in the virus, from previously relatively low rates. Spain reported about 8,900 cases for the week ending November 1, but nearly 63,000 cases for the week ending December 1. France has increased from about 42,000 cases per week to 243,000. Germany’s case count tripled, to about 400,000 cases per week.
Limited access to testing in many developing countries means that global numbers could be significantly lower and could mask regional trends.
– Mike Stucka
Tennessee signed a $75 million contact-tracing agreement with the company’s inexperienced epidemiology
With virtually no legislative oversight and virtually no public shield, Tennessee state officials agreed to pay a medical billing company $20 million last summer to conduct state contact tracing efforts. The price of that contract has now more than tripled to a total of $75 million, according to multiple amendments introduced between the company and the state Department of Health.
No-bid contract extension with Hendersonville’s Xtend Healthcare – first reported by The Tennessee Lookout — raised eyebrows among lawmakers on both sides. Workers at the company questioned how well Xtend Healthcare — a medical billing company with no prior experience in epidemiology — managed contact tracing in Tennessee. Several Xtend Healthcare employees told WPLN that they have experienced significant back-ups, with some reaching infected patients after they were in quarantine.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has protect the state’s emergency purchasing process, argued that state officials must quickly make decisions to secure supplies such as personal protective equipment and other services during the pandemic.
– Yue Stella Yu, Nashville Tennessee
Indiana reported 6,164 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number of new cases added to the state’s dashboard in a single day since early January. Weekends, like the long Thanksgiving weekend, could have an impact on COVID-19 numbers because of delays in testing. So Tuesday’s confirmed cases could partly be a hypothesis of less available testing later in the week.
Indicating this could be part of a worrying new trend, Indiana reported more than 4,000 new cases on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the seven-day average for new cases hit 3,245, child the highest number since September.
– Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis star
Contributing: Mike Stucka, Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY; Imani Cruzen, St. Cloud Times; Related press