The CDC confirms the first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California health authorities confirmed the first case COVID-19 related to the newly discovered variant Omicron in the United States on Wednesday, saying that an individual who had recently returned from South Africa had tested positive for the strain.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement that the traveler had been fully vaccinated, had “mild symptoms that were improving” and had been self-quarantining since testing positive for the virus. statment. The health authorities have closely contacted the owners of the contacts and they have been tested negative.

The health agency said the variant’s emergence “underscores the importance of vaccinations, boosters, and general prevention strategies Necessary to protect against COVID-19. Everyone age 5 and older should receive vaccinated boosters, which are recommended for everyone age 18 and older.”

The United States is joining more than 20 countries and territories to monitor at least one case of the strain around the world, since health officials in South Africa sound the alarm Alternate on November 25th. Biden administration recently class Omicron as the “alternative of concern,” echoing the WHO’s designation over the weekend.

Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor, told reporters at a White House briefing on Wednesday that the traveler tested positive on November 29. The case was sequenced by the University of California, San Francisco, the CDC said, and confirmed by the agency “as consistent with an Omicron variant.”

“This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by a variant of Omicron that has been detected in the United States. As you all know, of course we were discussing this, we knew it was only a matter of time before the first Omicron case would be revealed in the United States,” Fauci said. .

The discovery comes as the Biden administration is considering stricter restrictions on international travel, as part of a new strategy to curb the virus that Biden plans to announce on Thursday. The CDC has also ramped up its efforts to monitor new cases of Omicron in recent days, including an unplanned expansion of a pilot program. It includes San Francisco International Airport.

On the Wednesday before the announcement, CDC Command Airlines begin handing out contact information for travelers from eight countries in South Africa.

Fauci said he is not aware of any other possible cases of Omicron being investigated by the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said Americans should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to prevent the variant from spreading, and urged those who are fully vaccinated to “boost up now,” saying the extra dose would likely impart some level of protection against the variant.

“There is every reason to believe that the kind of increase that you get with the booster would be at least beneficial in preventing serious illness for a variant like Omicron,” he said. “We may not need variant-specific reinforcement. We are preparing for the possibility that we need variant-specific reinforcement.”

Exactly how vaccines work against the variant remains unclear. Although the Omicron variant shares a number of mutations with other variants of concern that may enable it to be more transmissible and evade the body’s defenses, scientists have warned that it could take weeks to check the variant’s risks in test tubes.

On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Dr. Scott GottliebA former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of the Board of Directors of Pfizer Inc. expressed confidence in vaccines.

“People who have taken a close look at this sequence … these individuals feel reasonably confident that three doses of the vaccine will be protective,” Gottlieb said. “Now, that could give a really powerful boost to trying to promote more people.”

The emergence of the Omicron variant in the US comes amid the busy holiday travel season. According to the AAA Automobile Club, it is estimated that more than 53 million Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday, up from last year.

Food and Drug Administration He says Existing COVID-19 tests are likely to remain accurate in detecting infection through variants, despite an anomaly known as “S-Gene target failure” that has also been seen in previous strains. Several labs said they are using this to prioritize positive tests that may be caused by Omicron for further genetic sequencing, in order to check for the variant that caused the infection.

Public health officials have defended the changing surveillance efforts in the United States, arguing that the public health system and commercial laboratories expanded by the CDC could detect emerging variables. Down to 0.01% spread in the country.

Currently CDC Estimates That the delta variant remains almost all viruses circulating in the country.

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