Washington: The US has confirmed its first COVID-19 case caused by the Omicron variant. The patient, who is from California, is fully vaccinated and had recently returned from South Africa. The patient has mild symptoms and is recovering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the person returned from South Africa on November 22. Close contacts have all tested negative.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, who briefed reporters at the White House, said that the patient tested positive on November 29.
Fauci cautioned against reading too much into reports that Omicron symptoms were mild until more hard data was available.
Fauci said it could take two weeks or more to gain insight into how easily the variant spreads from person to person, how severe is the disease it causes and whether it can bypass the protections provided by vaccines currently available, reported Reuters.
Fauci urged Americans that vaccination, boosters and masking in indoor public settings remained the best way to stay protected.
He stressed that a COVID booster remained a good idea because it raises the number of antibodies in a person’s immune system.
Omicron has been found in two-dozen countries, including several in Europe plus Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Israel.
The US has not yet detected community transmission of Omicron.
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