An indication outdoors of a hospital advertises COVID-19 testing on November 19, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
New York state has confirmed 5 cases of the omicron Covid-19 variant across the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced late Thursday, hours after cases have been detected in Minnesota and Colorado.
Cases have been found in Suffolk County, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one in New York City, she mentioned at a press briefing. Minnesota well being authorities confirmed the second U.S. case of the omicron Covid variant earlier Thursday, in a resident who just lately returned from New York City.
New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi mentioned there was neighborhood unfold all through the state.
“This is not just to to people who are traveling to Southern Africa or to other parts of the world where omicron has already been identified,” he mentioned. The state is sequencing about 15% of all Covid checks, he mentioned, permitting them to”pick up these trends over time.”
Hochul assured residents that the invention of omicron cases in New York doesn’t suggest she is going to name for a similar variety of widespread lockdowns initially of the pandemic that shuttered companies and put tens of millions of New Yorkers out of work.
“We are in a far better place, that people are informed. There’s not a panic,” she mentioned Thursday evening. (*5*)
The first confirmed U.S. case of the closely mutated pressure was detected in California in a resident who had simply returned to San Francisco from South Africa, which first reported the pressure to the World Health Organization a few week in the past. The Colorado case was additionally confirmed in a traveler who had simply returned from Southern Africa.
Health officials within the U.S. and around the globe are involved that omicron is extra transmissible and should evade the safety offered by presently obtainable vaccines to a point. The variant has some 50 mutations, greater than 30 of that are on the spike protein that the virus makes use of to connect to human cells.
“The molecular profile of the kinds of mutations that you see [in omicron] would suggest that it might be more transmissible and that it might elude some of the protection of vaccines,” White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci informed reporters on Wednesday. “But we don’t know that now.”
The Biden administration on Thursday laid out a plan to fight omicron and a potential winter surge of the predominant delta variant of the virus. The White home is requiring all in-bound worldwide vacationers to check for Covid inside 24 hours of their departure. The administration is extending masks necessities on home flights and public transit by means of March 18. It can be increasing entry to free at-home Covid checks.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday mentioned omicron has been confirmed in a minimum of 23 nations worldwide. The variant was first recognized in Botswana final month and delivered to the eye of the WHO by public well being officials in South Africa.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead, mentioned on Wednesday that hospitalizations are rising in South Africa, however extra knowledge is required earlier than drawing conclusions about whether or not omicron causes extra extreme illness.
The affected person in California who examined constructive for omicron was totally vaccinated, has gentle signs and is enhancing, Gov. Gavin Newsom mentioned on Wednesday. The particular person, who’s between 18 and 49 years outdated, had not obtained a booster dose as a result of they weren’t six months out from their authentic vaccination course.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services secretary, mentioned the truth that the affected person has gentle signs and is enhancing underscores the significance of vaccines.
The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna say it is going to take about two weeks to assemble sufficient knowledge to find out what impression omicron’s mutations have on the effectiveness of the present vaccines. They have mentioned it could take till early 2022 to develop a shot that particularly targets the variant. However, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel mentioned the corporate can roll out a better dosage booster shot a lot faster.