More than 20 people in the U.S. have tested positive for omicron. Here’s what we know about the cases so far

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  • While some patients had recently traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected, others had no travel history, suggesting that community transmission is ongoing in the US.
  • Many of the people who tested positive in the US were fully vaccinated, but all of them have experienced mild symptoms so far.
  • White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday that laboratory studies indicate that booster shots increase antibody protection against a variety of variants.
  • California, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, New York and New Jersey have all confirmed cases.

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More than 20 people in 10 US states have tested positive for the Omicron version of the virus that causes COVID-19. Patients range in age, vaccination status and travel history, but none of them have developed serious illness so far.

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While some patients had recently traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected, others had no travel history, indicating that community transmission is ongoing in the US.

“We have a whole lot of community spread in this country,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told Businesshala television on Friday. “We don’t know how many of them there are, but there is no doubt that there has been community spread.”

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Scientists and public health officials are still collecting data on whether Omicron is more permeable, evades better immune protection from vaccines, and/or causes more severe disease than other types.

According to the most current information from state public health departments, all those who have tested positive in the US have shown mild to moderate symptoms and no patients have been hospitalized so far. However, mild cases of COVID can turn into more severe disease over time.

Many of the people who tested positive in the US were fully vaccinated. At least two patients who were immunized had not yet received booster shots, but another person had received their extra dose. And in at least one case, a person who had previously recovered from COVID tested positive for Omicron.

While a handful of cases in the US offer no definitive answer about omicrons, the World Health Organization said on Friday that early data suggests the virus is more contagious. And South African scientists published a study that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, finding that omicron carries a higher risk of re-infecting people who first caught COVID than previous variants. Was.

Although some people who tested positive for Omicron were fully vaccinated, the fact that they developed mild symptoms suggests that the shots still offer protection against severe disease from the variant, according to U.S. Health. officials said. Fauci said during a White House COVID briefing on Friday that laboratory studies indicate that booster shots increase antibody protection against a variety of variants.

“There’s every reason to believe that if you vaccinate and promote that you’ll have at least some degree of cross-protection,” Fauci said, “against serious disease, even against the Omicron variant.” Too.

california

California on Wednesday confirmed the first US case of Omicron in a man who had recently returned from South Africa to the San Francisco area. Gavin Newsom, the man was between 18 and 49 years old, fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for his booster shot. Newsom said on Wednesday that the man showed mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery.

“The evidence that a person with an oomicron identified by sequencing actually has mild symptoms, is improving, I think is evidence of the importance of vaccination,” said Dr. Mark Galley, California Secretary of Health and Human Services.

California confirmed a second Omicron case Thursday in the Los Angeles area. According to the city’s health department, the adult was also fully vaccinated and had recently returned from South Africa via London. Officials said the person’s symptoms were improving without medical care.

“This infection is most likely travel-related,” The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said, The department, citing privacy concerns, would not disclose the person’s age or booster status when asked by CNBC on Friday.

Minnesota

On Thursday in Minnesota, public health officials confirmed an Omicron case in an adult male who had been fully vaccinated and had recently returned from an anime convention at the Javits Center in New York City. Her symptoms were mild and have since recovered, According to the state health department.

The Minnesota resident had received a booster shot before attending the convention in New York, Minnesota public health spokesman Doug Schultz told CNBC on Friday.

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Colorado

On Thursday morning, Colorado confirmed a case of Omicron in a fully vaccinated adult woman who had not received a booster shot. Like the first case in California, the woman had a recent travel history to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected. She is experiencing minor symptoms and is recovering at home, According to the Colorado Department of Health.

Gov. Jared Polis told residents during a press conference on Thursday that health officials believe community spread is low in Colorado at this time. Health officials have yet to detect Omicron through wastewater analysis, and they have yet to detect a second case through genetic sequencing.

“So if it was prevalent, we would know — that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent,” Polis said.

airy

Hawaii on Thursday confirmed the case in Oahu of a man who was previously infected with COVID, had never been vaccinated and had no travel history, According to the state health department. This person is showing moderate symptoms, it said.

“This is a case of community spread,” the department said in a press release.

Nebraska

Nebraska confirmed six Omicron cases on Friday, in a transmission chain that appears to have started with a person who recently traveled to Nigeria. According to the state health department, the other five people were exposed through household contact with a person who had traveled to Africa. Only one in six people was vaccinated, but none of them required hospitalization.

Maryland

Maryland confirmed Friday that three people in the Baltimore metro area tested positive for Omicron. Two of the people are from the same household, a vaccinated person who had recently traveled to South Africa and had close contact with a person who was not vaccinated. The third case was of a vaccinated person who, according to state officials, had no information about recent travel history.

“None of the three individuals are hospitalized,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a press release.

Pennsylvania

A man in his 30s from northwest Philadelphia has tested positive for Omicron, city officials confirmed Friday. Philadelphia’s Department of Health said it was working to obtain more information on the matter.

Missouri

The Missouri State Department of Health said Friday that a St. Louis resident with a recent history of domestic travel is considered positive for Omicron. The sample was sequenced by a commercial laboratory and is awaiting confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Missouri state health department did not provide information about the person’s age, vaccination history, or symptoms. CNBC has reached out to state health officials for more details.

new Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed a case of Omicron in a Georgia traveler who had recently been to South Africa. According to state health officials, the adult woman, who has been fully vaccinated, experienced moderate symptoms and is now recovering after receiving care at an emergency department in northern New Jersey.

New York

New York identified five cases of the Omicron type Thursday evening, but details are sparse.

A 67-year-old woman in Suffolk County recently tested positive after traveling to South Africa, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul. The patient had some vaccination history, but it is not clear whether he was fully immunized or received a booster. The woman has shown mild symptoms including headache and cough.

Two people also tested positive in Queens, New York City, and another person tested positive in Brooklyn, but their vaccination history was unknown as of Thursday evening. Another passenger also reportedly tested positive in the city, though the governor did not provide any additional information.

CNBC has contacted the New York City Department of Health requesting more information about the vaccination status and symptoms of people who tested positive for Omicron.

New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi told the public Thursday that the cases indicate there has been community spread in the state.

“It’s not just people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicrons have been identified,” Chokshi said.

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