In California, the COVID-19 omicron variant was identified for the 1st time in the United States. This person is vaccinated for COVID but has not received any of the boosters.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the person infected was a traveler returning from South Africa. They arrived back in America on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29. Only mild symptoms have come about in this case.
This case comes after the Biden administration decided to restrict travel from Southern Africa, where the omicron variant is most prevalent. Everyone considered close contact with this person tested negative.
“We knew that it was a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States.”Dr. Fauci
Right when everything was beginning to seem somewhat normal again, COVID-19 strikes again. Scientists and health workers are stressing the importance of booster shots more than ever.
“I think whatís happening now is another example of why itís important for people to get vaccinated. But also boosting. Boosting is very important.”Dr. Fauci
How does this effect America?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are strengthening their testing rules for those traveling from overseas. They will be making all passengers take a test within a day of flying to the United States. Post-arrival testing is looking like a possibility as well, regardless of vaccination status. America knows omicron will grow in America, but these procedures will buy more time to prepare for the new variant.
As omicron is new, less is known about the variant. Dr. Fauci envisions his team will understand much more regarding it in the upcoming weeks. We currently do not know if it is more contagious than other strains, will produce more harm, or bypass the vaccines easier.
“We recognize that everyone is exhausted, and the news of a new variant can be overwhelming. It is important that we collectively focus on the things we know prevent the spread of COVID-19, and its variants.”California public health officials
Biden and his administration planned to discuss the new variant and America’s strategy against it on Thursday, but this case may change that strategy. He calls omicron a cause for concern but “not a cause for panic.”