New York Daily News: By Dave Goldiner – The first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the US has been identified in California, health officials said Wednesday.
US health officials confirmed the case in a traveler who returned to San Francisco from South Africa on November 22.
Dr Anthony Fauci said the person tested positive for COVID-19 after returning and was identified as being infected with the omicron strain on Monday.
“The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive,” the Centers for Disease Control said in a statement.
Health experts had expected omicron would soon be identified in the U.S. and Fauci said “it was only a matter of time.”
Fauci said there was no immediate reason for people in California to panic about the omicron report.
“For the people in California… just do all the things we’ve been talking about,” Fauci said. “For those who have been doing that, keep doing that. For those who haven’t been doing that, start doing it.
The new omicron case means the fast-spreading new strain has now hopscotched across the globe and has been identified on every continent except Antarctica.
The large majority of cases so far identified have come in southern Africa, where it appears to be spreading widely in South Africa’s most populous province.
The U.S. has imposed a limited travel ban on foreigners who have recently been in the southern African region.
Fauci conceded that the new rules could damage the economies of some African countries that have so far not even identified any omicron cases.
“We wanted to buy some time (and) I do hope this is sorted out and lifted before it has significant impact on (those countries),” Fauci said.
This was a breaking news story at 3:33pm Bermuda Time