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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: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 02, @03:36PM (5 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @03:36PM (#1201526) Journal

    <no-sarcasm>
    A booster for a vaccine that works, is NOT like reinstalling the same Norton Anti-Virus on your computer. The human body and cells do not work the same as a computer.

    As for the effectiveness of current vaccines against new covid variants, that is a different topic. Not to be conflated with whether boosters are good or bad.

    The current vaccine may or may not have a useful effect against any particular new variant. That is a topic worthy of discussion without conflating it with boosters for variants that it is proven to be effective against.

    Maybe we might stop having new variants if there were not some subset of the population that is unvaccinated and continues to spread the disease around and evolve new variants. When there is no pool of "incubators" to develop these mutations, the new variants will stop.

    As with many things, not just vaccines, stupid people are why we cannot have nice things.
    </no-sarcasm>

    I notice that for each booster shot, they use a fresh needle?!? Don't they know about re-usable boosters?

    --
    Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @03:54PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @03:54PM (#1201532)

    Maybe we might stop having new variants if there were not some subset of the population that is unvaccinated and continues to spread the disease around and evolve new variants. When there is no pool of "incubators" to develop these mutations, the new variants will stop.

    My copy of the NecronOmicron clearly states only the vaccinated present with selection pressure to incubate vaccine escape variants.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @04:33PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, @04:33PM (#1201545)

      The fact is that the coronavirus vaccines DO PRETTY MUCH NOTHING to prevent spread of the virus. Vaccinated spread just as much as unvaccinated. Update your narrative: the vaccines are now to prevent overflowing the hospital emergency rooms because they supposedly make sure your case of COVID, should you catch it, milder than if you were not vaccinated.

      As a matter of fact, right now the highest vaccinated countries are experiencing a wave of infections in vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

      This is actually probably a good thing since getting exposed to the REAL, CURRENT virus will provide far better and longer lasting immunity than the short lived "sugar high" sort of protection the coronavirus vaccines give.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 02, @05:08PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02, @05:08PM (#1201551) Journal

        You provide no citations for the nonsense you spew.

        But here is one point you failed to undress: [cdc.gov]

        COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated [cdc.gov] will still get COVID-19.

        An infection of a fully vaccinated person is referred to as a “vaccine breakthrough infection.”

        --
        Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.