1 December 2021 – The first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the United States was confirmed today by officials in an individual in California who recently traveled to South Africa. He or she is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and has only “mild symptoms that are improving,” CDC officials said.
The patient, who was not named Wednesday in the CDC’s announcement of the first U.S. case of the Omicron variant, is self-quarantine.
“All close contacts were contacted and tested negative,” officials said.
The announcement comes as no surprise to many, as the Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, has been reported in countries around the world in recent days. Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Germany have each reported this variant, as well as Italy and the Netherlands. Over the weekend, the first North American cases were identified in Canada.
Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced over the weekend that this latest variant was probably already in the U.S., ABC told ABC. This week his appearance here was “inevitable”.
Similar to previous variants, this new strain probably started circulating in the US before scientists could do genetic tests to confirm its presence.
The World Health Organization called Omicron a “variant of concern” on Friday, though much is still unknown about how well it spreads, how serious it can be and how it can withstand vaccines. Meanwhile, the US has introduced travel ban from various South African countries.
It remains to be seen whether Omicron will follow the pattern of the Delta variant, which was first identified in the US in May and became the dominant tribe by July. It is also possible that it will follow the path taken by the Mu variant. Mu emerged in March and April to great concern, just to suck out by September because it could not compete with the Delta variant.