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What we know about the omicron cases in the United States


A COVID-19 testing facility is announced at Newark Liberty International Airport on November 30, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey.

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More than 20 people in 10 US states have tested positive for the omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19. Patients’ age, vaccination status and travel history vary, but none of them have developed serious illness so far.

While some patients had recently traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected, others had no travel history, indicating community transmission is underway in the United States.

“We absolutely have a widespread community in this country,” Dr Anthony Fauci told Bloomberg Television on Friday. “We don’t know how many of them, but there is no doubt that there is community spread.”

Scientists and public health officials are still collecting data on whether omicron is more transmissible, better evades immune protection from vaccines, and / or causes more severe disease than other variants.

Those who tested positive in the United States all had mild to moderate symptoms and none of the patients have been hospitalized so far, according to the most recent information from state public health departments. However, mild cases of Covid can progress to more serious illness over time.

Many people who tested positive in the United States were fully vaccinated. At least two of the immunized patients had not yet received a booster, but another person had received their extra dose. And in at least one case, a person who had previously recovered from Covid tested positive for omicron.

While the handful of cases in the United States provide no definitive answer on the omicron, the World Health Organization said on Friday that the first data suggests the virus is more contagious. And South African scientists have published a study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, which found that omicron carries a higher risk of re-infecting people who have already caught Covid than previous variants.

Although some of those who tested positive for omicron were fully vaccinated, the fact that they developed mild symptoms suggests that the injections still offer protection against serious illness from the variant, health officials said. Americans. Fauci said during a White House briefing on Covid on Friday that laboratory studies indicate that booster injections increase antibody protection against a range of variants.

“There is every reason to believe that if you get the vaccine and boosted, you would at least have some degree of cross-protection,” said Fauci, “most likely against serious disease, even against the omicron variant. “

California

California on Wednesday confirmed the first U.S. case of omicron in a person recently returned from South Africa to the San Francisco area. The person was between 18 and 49 years old, was fully vaccinated and was not yet eligible for his recall, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. The person has shown mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery, Newsom said on Wednesday.

“The evidence that an individual with omicron identified by sequencing is actually showing mild symptoms is improving, I think this speaks to the importance of vaccinations,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and of Social Services.

California confirmed a second case of omicron in the Los Angeles area on Thursday. The adult was also fully vaccinated and had recently returned from South Africa via London, according to the city’s health service. The person’s symptoms are improving without medical attention, officials said.

“This infection is most likely travel related,” the Los Angeles County Public Health Department said. The department, citing privacy concerns, would not disclose the person’s age or recall status when asked by CNBC on Friday.

Minnesota

Public health officials in Minnesota confirmed a case of omicron in a fully vaccinated adult male who recently returned from an anime convention at the Javits Center in New York City on Thursday. Her symptoms were mild and have since resolved, according to the state’s health department.

The Minnesota resident received a booster shot before attending the convention in New York City, Minnesota public health spokesman Doug Schultz told CNBC on Friday.

Colorado

Colorado confirmed a case of omicron in a fully vaccinated adult female on Thursday morning who had not received a booster. The woman, like the first case in California, had recently traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected. She is experiencing minor symptoms and is recovering at home, according to the Colorado Department of Health.

Gov. Jared Polis told residents at a press conference Thursday that health officials believe community spread to be low in Colorado at this time. Health officials have yet to detect an omicron by analysis of the sewage, and they have yet to detect a second case by genetic sequencing.

“So if it was prevalent we would know – that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent,” Polis said.

Hawaii

Hawaii confirmed a case in Oahu on Thursday in a person who had previously been infected with Covid, has never been vaccinated and had no travel history, according to the state’s health department. The person has moderate symptoms, he said.

“This is a case of community spread,” the department said in a statement.

Nebraska

Nebraska confirmed six cases of omicron on Friday, in a chain of transmission that appears to have started with a person who recently traveled to Nigeria. The other five people were likely exposed through family contact with the person who had traveled to Africa, according to the state’s health department. Only one of the six people was vaccinated, but none of them required hospitalization.

Maryland

Maryland confirmed on Friday that three people in the Baltimore metro area had tested positive for omicron. Two of the people are from the same household, a vaccinated person who had recently traveled to South Africa and close contact with this person who was not vaccinated. The third case involved a vaccinated person who had no known recent travel history, state officials said.

“None of the three people are hospitalized,” Governor Larry Hogan said in a press release.

Pennsylvania

A man in his 30s from northwest Philadelphia has tested positive for omicron, city officials confirmed on Friday. The Philadelphia Department of Health said it was working to get more information on the case.

Missouri

A St. Louis resident with a recent domestic travel history is presumed positive for omicron, the Missouri state health department said Friday. The sample has been sequenced by a commercial lab and is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Missouri State Department of Health has not provided information on the person’s age, vaccination history, or symptoms. CNBC has contacted state health authorities for more information.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed a case of omicron in a traveler from Georgia who was recently in South Africa. The adult woman, who is fully vaccinated, exhibited moderate symptoms and is now recovering after receiving care in an emergency department in northern New Jersey, state health officials say.

new York

New York identified five cases of the omicron variant on Thursday night, but details are scarce.

A 67-year-old woman from Suffolk County tested positive after a recent trip to South Africa, according to Governor Kathy Hochul. The patient had a history of vaccination, but it is not clear if she was fully immune or if she was boosted. The woman presented with mild symptoms, including headache and cough.

Two people also tested positive in New York’s Queens neighborhood, and another person tested positive in Brooklyn, but their vaccination history was unknown Thursday night. Another traveler has also reportedly tested positive in the city, although the governor has provided no further information.

CNBC has contacted the New York City Health Department to request more details on the immunization status and symptoms of people who test positive for omicron.

New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi told the public Thursday the cases indicated there was community spread in the state.

“It’s not just people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where omicron has already been identified,” Chokshi said.


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