Health

Multiple cases of omicron variant virus identified in New York

Health officials said Thursday that several cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in New York, including in a man who attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November and tested positive for the variant when he returned home to Minnesota.

In addition to a conference attendee who was vaccinated against COVID-19, government officials said tests showed that five other people recently infected with the virus had this option. Among them were a man from a Long Island suburb who recently traveled to South Africa, residents of Brooklyn and Queens, and another incident possibly related to travel. At least one person received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but officials did not have detailed information on the vaccination status of four other cases.

Gov. Katie Hochul told a press conference with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio that officials are still gathering details on the cases, but “there is no cause for concern.”

“We just want to make sure the public is aware of the information when we receive it,” she said.

De Blasio said the geographic spread of the positive tests indicated that the option was “spreading to the population” in the city and was not associated with any one event.

“We have to assume that there is a lot more behind this and that it has been here for a significant amount of time,” he said.

The news comes a day after the United States announced that the first known case of this variant was found in California in a man who had recently traveled to South Africa.

Officials Thursday reported another case of a Colorado woman who recently traveled to southern Africa.

According to event organizers, the Anime NYC 2021 convention on November 19-21 drew about 50,000 people, and attendees were required to wear masks and provide evidence that they had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The man who attended the event did not travel outside the United States and began to experience symptoms the day after the convention, which, according to Minnesota Health Commissioner Ian Malcolm, makes it “perhaps most likely” that a man had contracted COVID-19 in New York. York. conventions, but the officials did not know for sure.

Officials in New York said they are working to track down attendees to the convention, which was being held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as New York prepares to host the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and prepares for crowds of tourists to return from USA. open to vaccinated international travelers.

Officials in the city of 8.8 million said they expect a new variant in the city to be only a matter of time. City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi urged everyone who attended the event to get tested.

“This is not only because of people who travel to southern Africa or to other parts of the world where the omicron has already been identified,” Chokshi said Thursday.

On November 22, a Minnesota man developed mild symptoms. He was vaccinated and boosted in early November, according to health officials in his home state. He applied for COVID-19 testing on November 24, and his symptoms disappeared, officials said.

November 22 was the same day that a person infected in California returned to the United States from South Africa. A traveler from California who was vaccinated developed mild symptoms and tested positive on Monday.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more infectious as suspected by some health authorities, whether it causes more serious illness in people, and whether it might interfere with the administration of the vaccine.

Omicron is classified as an “option of concern” by the World Health Organization as scientists are working to determine how it can compare to the predominant delta option in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists are also studying the extent to which existing vaccines and treatments protect against the omicron.

Scientists in South Africa reported this for the first time, but samples were obtained from several countries in southern Africa. And health officials in the Netherlands now say it was discovered there before being found in South Africa.

As the feeling of comfort around air travel returns, new options like the omicron will spread from country to country and from state to state, according to Professor Daniel Ompad, an epidemiologist at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.

“We shouldn’t panic, but we should be worried,” she said.

Hochul said the case involving a visitor from Minnesota highlighted the need for anyone eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine or get boosted if they haven’t already.

“There is one way to solve this problem – New Yorkers have to get vaccinated, get boosted vaccinations and get ready,” said the Democrat.


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