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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

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  • (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
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  • (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