The Omicron COVID-19 variant has finally arrived in the United States as health officials and some communities reported detecting the new variant. Now, the government decided to revive its contract tracing operations to study how contagious it is and whether it can beat existing vaccines against COVID-19.
Contact Tracing Operations in the US
New York City officials have already started reaching out to over 5,000 participants of an anime conference at a Manhattan convention center last month after five attendees have tested positive of COVID-19, Chron reported. As of now, officials have not yet confirmed whether it was the Omicron variant.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that their contact tracing team is immediately working with each attendee to figure out who else was in the conference. He emphasized that as Omicron reached the US shores, contact tracing is absolutely crucial at this point.
In 2020, the city was declared a global epicenter of the pandemic that lead officials to deploy the country’s biggest contact tracing operations. New York City has already identified four Omicron cases since Thursday, December 2, and a fifth one was recently detected who live in nearby Suffolk County, Long Island.
Other states who also detected the Omicron variant were California, Colorado, and Hawaii.
Omicron Cases in the US
According to Texas News Today, there are now more than 20 cases of the Omicron variant across the 10 states in the US. They vary in age and vaccination status, as well as travel history. But none of them have developed a serious illness from the infection.
Although, some of them have a travel history to southern Africa where the variant was first discovered. On the other hand, some of the patients had never traveled to Africa, indicating that there is already a community transmission of the variant in the US.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that there is no exact number yet as to how many patients are infected with the new variant, but that there is no doubt that it is spreading across communities. Public health officials are still collecting data on how contagious can Omicron be and whether it could avoid the immune protection provided by vaccines.