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posted by martyb on Thursday December 02, @09:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the ten-percent-of-the-US-population-lives-in-California dept.

Omicron is now in the U.S., with first case found in California:

The first U.S. case of the omicron variant has been identified in California in a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The patient had mild symptoms that were improving and was in isolation, officials said.

Much remains unknown about the highly mutated variant, which scientists fear could be more transmissible and more resistant to vaccines. The new variant has been identified in more than 20 countries since it was first identified in southern Africa last week.

[...] Federal health officials are expanding a program that offers free coronavirus testing at key U.S. airports, part of strengthened efforts to monitor international arrivals amid growing concerns about the omicron variant.

Under the program, visitors from eight African nations, including those connecting through Europe, who arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, San Francisco International and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airports, will be given the option of taking a test when they arrive. Those who volunteer also will be given the option of an at-home test to take three to five days after arrival.

International arrivals already are required to show proof of a negative virus test before boarding U.S.-bound flights, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing this week that the screening program at four of the nation’s busiest airports will provide additional data that can aid in the agency’s monitoring efforts.

First case of omicron COVID variant identified in the US:

The first confirmed US case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified in California, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a White House briefing Wednesday. The infected person arrived in the US from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29, Fauci said.

"Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California at San Francisco, and the sequence was confirmed at the CDC as being consistent with the omicron variant," said Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

[...] The person was fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine -- but had not had a booster shot -- and experienced only mild symptoms that are now improving. They are quarantining, and all close contacts have so far tested negative, Fauci said. The person is a resident of San Francisco between the ages of 18 and 49, and was not hospitalized, California Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Wednesday.

"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.

Fauci reiterated that within the next three weeks, there will be a lot more information about the transmissibility and severity of this strain of the disease, as well as the effectiveness of vaccinations and booster shots against the omicron variant. The new variant was first identified in South Africa in late November.

Also at Ars Technica and www.aljazeera.com


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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @09:48AM (37 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @09:48AM (#1201421) Homepage Journal

    We need to subsidize the airlines, and get the planes flying again at pre-Covid levels! And, we need to surge the border! And, we need to hug a Chinaman!

    We have the most fucked up, hodge-podge, hit-or-miss pandemic policies imaginable. When international travel is shut down, I'll start to take the authorities a little bit seriously.

    --
    “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @10:15AM (21 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @10:15AM (#1201424)

    We need to subsidize the airlines, and get the planes flying again at pre-Covid levels! And, we need to surge the border! And, we need to hug a Chinaman!

    We need to come up with a bunch of straw men, cut them all down, and then strut around smugly congratulating ourselves!

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @10:41AM (18 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @10:41AM (#1201426) Homepage Journal

      Want to stick with facts, huh? Well, fact is, we're doing something terribly wrong. The richest countries have the highest death rates. And, I don't accept the common wisdom that dark skinned people are too ignorant to count.

      --
      “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Thursday December 02, @10:49AM (4 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Thursday December 02, @10:49AM (#1201428)

        We also have the highest number of old people. Ever taken a look at the age pyramid of Niger? Half the country ain't old enough to fuck legally in the US. Also, since they generally do understand how epidemics work, because they very likely have one in recent memory unlike us where only the ancient ones even know what a pandemic looks like (by the way, how many 80+ year olds do you know that believe the conspiracies?), and since they know that there ain't a medical system that will catch them if they fall due to their own stupidity, they tend to take warnings serious and try to avoid getting sick as well as they possibly can.

        And guess what, in this case that actually works.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:15PM (#1201636)
          >> how many 80+ year olds do you know that believe the conspiracies?

          I knew a few. but for some reason or other they're dead.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:55PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:55PM (#1201654)

          Niger

          THAT'S RACIST!!!

          • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Friday December 03, @07:11AM (1 child)

            by Opportunist (5545) on Friday December 03, @07:11AM (#1201767)

            I agree, but don't tell me that, tell that those Ni... who named their country that way!

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, @08:31AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 06, @08:31AM (#1202472)

              You must have missed the memo, another sad misunderstanding. It's their word and they are the only ones allowed to use it. No need to thank me just correcting the record.

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @01:09PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @01:09PM (#1201458)

        What America is doing wrong is that they want to remain "free". Free to travel wherever they like, free to leave there homes whenever they like, free do what they think is best for their own bodies, free to believe that evolution does not exist therefore all these viruses must be "manufactured", and so on. Putting ones life on the line to remain "free" is considered heroic.

        At this point the politicians know damn well that if they pull more of the same shit that other countries do, these people will vote them out of office or, more likely now, threaten their very lives.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @02:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @02:04PM (#1201483)

          Well, what would you expect from a political/corporate/media conglomerate that did everything it could to steal (sorry, "fortify") the election?

        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by number11 on Thursday December 02, @07:01PM (1 child)

          by number11 (1170) on Thursday December 02, @07:01PM (#1201589)

          What America is doing wrong is that they want to remain "free". Free to travel wherever they like, free to leave there homes whenever they like...

          Free to infect people they have contact with (or who have to breathe the same air). Free to fill the ICUs so that there isn't space for people with heart attacks or accident victims. Free to demand subsidized care when they do come down with covid (if they have insurance at all, the company will just raise everybody's premiums to cover the cost). Ah, freedumb!

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:38PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @09:38PM (#1201649)

            Ah, freedumb!

            I zee you az ze number elf, iz it from ze camp? [babylonbee.com]

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday December 02, @05:11PM (6 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @05:11PM (#1201554) Journal

        we're doing something terribly wrong. The richest countries have the highest death rates.

        I would point out that in some of the richest countries, that is those rich countries with the largest concentrations of the stupidest people, we have many people who won't take one of the most basic precautions of getting vaccinated.

        I wouldn't mind them not getting vaccinated, if they would just stay home and not spread the disease and its variants.

        --
        While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @05:43PM (5 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @05:43PM (#1201560) Homepage Journal

          Let's get this straight. Poor countries can't afford the vaxx, but they have lower death rates. Richer countries get the vaxx, but they have higher death rates. Conclusion: people die because they don't get the vaxx.

          You've bought a pig in a poke. And, even as you watch the cat crawl out of the bag and go racing away, you won't believe that there is no pig.

          --
          “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Thursday December 02, @08:35PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @08:35PM (#1201621) Journal

        2nd US omicron case just traveled to NYC anime convention with 53K attendees

        https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/12/2nd-us-omicron-case-just-traveled-to-nyc-anime-convention-with-53k-attendees/ [arstechnica.com]

        I bet in poorer countries, they don't have one infected person as likely to travel to an event with 53,000 attendees, and then return home. Also, no doubt infecting others while en route to/from the event.

        I suspect in poorer countries people are more tribal, have contact with fewer people, and don't travel as far or as much or to as large of a gathering.

        --
        While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @10:26PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @10:26PM (#1201659) Homepage Journal

          Anime? You said ANIME? Jesus Christ on a Crutch. People who watch or read Asian/Oriental entertainment are obvious vectors! How hard is it for a virus to hide between the pixels?

          (I suppose I need a /sarcasm tag here.)

          --
          “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @01:58PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @01:58PM (#1201477)

      When is the Burning Strawman Festival? Asking for a friend.

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday December 03, @04:31PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03, @04:31PM (#1201843) Journal

        In this place? Any time Hallow, Runaway, NPC-$BIGNUM, or any of a number of ACs who are likely one of the above decide to comment.

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Thursday December 02, @02:05PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday December 02, @02:05PM (#1201484)

    When international travel is shut down

    You mean how Biden already banned travel from southern Africa?

    --
    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday December 02, @02:13PM (7 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday December 02, @02:13PM (#1201487)

    International travel was shutdown until less than a month ago, and they just shut it down again from the seven identified Omicron hotspots.

    Funny how similar this is to the selective shutdowns at the start of the Trump administration. I know: different reasons - or are they? Fear is at the root of them both.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @03:19PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @03:19PM (#1201516)

      I know: different reasons - or are they? Fear is at the root of them both.

      Same reason: precaution, not fear. Exactly as any competent epidemiologist would advise! [nih.gov]

      The WHO and several governments issued travel advice to hard‐hit areas. Hospitals, schools and borders were closed.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @06:06PM (5 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @06:06PM (#1201572) Homepage Journal

        A genuine epidemiologist would shut down the airlines, period. Only travel essential to the distribution of essential supplies and goods would continue, and even that would be curtailed to some extent.

        https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/airport.html [webcamtaxi.com]

        I can see aircraft around the world, carrying potential spreaders to destinations hundred and thousands of miles to spread wherever they go. An entire industry of vectors, we might say.

        --
        “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @01:22PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @01:22PM (#1201801)

          Genuine epidemiologists know that travel bans accomplish nothing once the virus has already entered a community. Politicians love them though, because they're grandiose demonstrations of "doing something!"

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 03, @03:36PM (3 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03, @03:36PM (#1201822) Homepage Journal

            Ahhhh, you've made my point. All international travel should have been shut down way back when the Democrats were chanting "hug a Chinese"

            Once again, Trump to the first faltering step toward that end, until the Dems attacked him on grounds that shutting down travel was racisssssss. At which point he backed off, and permitted the virus to gain access to the US.

            Progress blocked by progressives - more news at 11!

            --
            “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
            • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Friday December 03, @10:34PM (2 children)

              by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03, @10:34PM (#1201981)

              It was racist (and pointless) because the ban only applied to Chinese nationals. US citizens traveling from there were free to come back with not so much as a check for sniffles.

              It's looking like the current travel ban is pointless, as it is obviously here already.

              --
              There's a little black spot on the sun today
              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday December 04, @12:34AM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 04, @12:34AM (#1202013) Homepage Journal

                I love the sibilance of that word - racisssssss. Like a snake hissing. And, of course, you can't argue with a snake. Always remember, 'don't step on snek'. Now, about that racissss move - were Chinese who were American nationals also barred from returning home? Were any Americans of any ancestry at all barred from returning home? Were Americans of either gender barred? Maybe Americans less than 4 feet tall? Americans with tats? Americans in high heels? Americans with falsetto voices?

                As I've said repeatedly, Trump took the first bumbling step to shutting down travel, and your clan went immediately on the offensive. What your side should have done was to tell Trump, 'Yeah, we want to bring out citizens home, but we need to TEST THEM upon arrival!' Did ya do that? No? Your objection is meaningless.

                --
                “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
                • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Monday December 06, @08:06PM

                  by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 06, @08:06PM (#1202576)

                  *I* did, actually. I personally advocated for a two week quarantine upon entry regardless of who they were. Testing would have been a great idea too, but we of course didn't do that either. Of course, I'm just a schlub that nobody would listen to anyway so, eh?

                  A first bumbling step that was effectively no step at all. It was motivated by "keeping the Chinese out" instead of keeping a virus out. Maybe if we didn't have a bumbling asshole in charge? Eh, probably not. I doubt HRC would have done much better.

                  --
                  There's a little black spot on the sun today
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @08:46PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @08:46PM (#1201625)

    We need to subsidize the airlines, and get the planes flying again at pre-Covid levels! And, we need to surge the border! And, we need to hug a Chinaman!

    We have the most fucked up, hodge-podge, hit-or-miss pandemic policies imaginable. When international travel is shut down, I'll start to take the authorities a little bit seriously.

    Oh now you're fucking worried about Corona response. Fuck me, that's hilarious.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday December 02, @10:23PM (4 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @10:23PM (#1201658) Homepage Journal

      Dude. Coffee. You need some.

      I've complained all along about the Dem response to Trump's early attempts to shut down travel. Remember "hug a Chinese"? Whatever bullshit either side wants to clutter the scene with, Trump tried to shut down travel in the very early days of the pandemic. Democrats screamed that meaningless refrain, 'DAS RACISSSSSS' and demanded that everyone in the US find a Chinese person to hug.

      Trump buckled under pressure, and backed off shutting down travel, when he should have got more aggressive, and shut down all ports of entry into the United States.

      Once we had confirmed cases here in the US, it was already too late to prevent the pandemic reaching us. But, it's still not to late to prevent the different strains from entering or leaving the country.

      Problem is, NO ONE is willing to just shut it all down.

      And, my position all along has been, if you aren't willing to quarantine completely, all the petty bullshit authoritarian measures from either party are just that - BULLSHIT! I refuse to take half measures to appease half assed fools.

      --
      “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @10:37PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @10:37PM (#1201664)

        Parent said:
        "hug a Chinese"

        That's grammatically incorrect, as the object in that sentence is an adjective. The correct phrasing would be, "hug a Chinaman."

        • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Friday December 03, @01:37AM

          by ChrisMaple (6964) on Friday December 03, @01:37AM (#1201710)

          It is common usage in U.S. English to optionally omit implied words whose presence is understood by most listeners:

          "hug a Chinese [person]."

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @05:27AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @05:27AM (#1201746)

        You should lay off the covfefe.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @05:31AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @05:31AM (#1201749)

          And, you should lay off the CNN.