Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The US has identified its first reported case of Covid-19 caused by the Omicron variant, with health officials confirming that an individual in California tested positive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that the variant was discovered in an individual who returned from South Africa on November 22, two days before the variant was first reported to the World Health Organization. the country.

Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said the individual was fully vaccinated and showed mild symptoms.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before the first case of Omicron would be detected in the United States,” Fauci said. “We know what we need to do to protect people: get vaccinated if you have not already been vaccinated; get a boost if you are vaccinated. ”

The CDC said it “has actively monitored and prepared for this variant, and we will continue to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more”.

Biden is expected to Announce Thursday a series of measures designed to slow the spread of Covid-19 over the winter, including stricter testing requirements for international travelers. But Fauci said even with the U.S.’s first Omicron case, the administration has not yet considered mandatory tests upon arrival in the country.

“This person did what we hope other people would do,” he said. “Once they became symptomatic, they went and tested, and it was positive.”

Last week, on the same day the WHO declared Omicron a “variant of concern”, Biden announced that travel to the US from several African countries would be restricted. Fauci said Wednesday that those restrictions would be temporary, though he did not say when they would end.

Asked if the pandemic would ever end, however, he said: “There is no doubt that it will end. I promise you it will end.”

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, urged residents not to panic about the Omicron variant and added in a tweet, “We have to accept that it is in other states as well.”

In the days following the discovery of Omicron in Southern Africa, a growing number of governments moved to limit travel from those countries. Other countries have since confirmed cases of the new strain.

US equities continued to declare earlier gains after the announcement. The S&P 500 closed 1.2 percent lower in New York, erasing a 1.9 percent gain earlier in the session. The decline was the benchmark’s biggest intraday swing since March.

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