The first case of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus Omicron variant was detected in California, officials said Wednesday.
Genomic sequencing conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and confirmed by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case was caused by the variant.
The patient traveled from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive for COVID-19 a week later.
The person, who has not been publicly identified, is self-isolating, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters in Washington.
All of the person’s close contacts have been contacted and, thus far, all have tested negative for COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP virus.
The person is fully vaccinated. He or she is experiencing mild symptoms that are improving.
“We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of Omicron would be detected in the United States,” Fauci said.
He urged people to get a COVID-19 vaccine if they have not and to get a booster if they already have.
Health authorities have not identified any additional potential cases at this point.
The United States restricted travel from South Africa and seven other African counties on Monday under an order from President Joe Biden. Passengers from other countries entering America will soon face stricter rules.
Officials around the world have imposed similar measures, citing the emergence of the variant in Africa.
The earliest known cases were identified in South Africa and Botswana in November, though testing of samples showed a patient with Omicron was in Nigeria in October, officials announced there earlier Wednesday.
Experts aren’t sure whether Omicron is more transmissible or whether it causes more severe disease. They have also expressed uncertainty on whether the variant evades immunity, including the protection bestowed by vaccines, better than other strains.
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