Just a day after the United States announced its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in California, health officials announced Thursday that it had also been found in a man who attended an anime conference in New York city in late November.
Health officials in that state said the man had tested positive after returning to his home in Minnesota. New York officials said they are working to track down those who attended the conference, which took place November 19-21 at the city’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Vaccinations were required for this event.
Governor Cathy Hochhol said there are no confirmed cases of Omicron among New Yorkers.
“There is only one way to address this: New Yorkers, get vaccinated, get support and prepare,” the Democratic governor said.
We “must assume” that there is a community prevalence of Omicron in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The Minnesota Department of Health said the man from Minnesota attended Anime NYC 2021 at the Javits Center. The man, who was vaccinated, developed mild symptoms on November 22 and requested a Covid-19 test two days later. His symptoms have subsided.
Much remains unknown about the new alternative, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more dangerous, and whether it could thwart a vaccine.
The United States recorded its first confirmed case of the Omicron variant on Wednesday. A vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa on November 22 developed mild symptoms and tested positive for Covid on Monday.
The World Health Organization classifies Omicron as a “variable of concern” as scientists work to determine how it compares to the dominant delta variable in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists are also studying the degree to which existing vaccines and treatments protect against Omicron.