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Second U.S. case of omicron variant discovered in Minnesota

Three US states have identified new cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Health officials in Minnesota and Colorado both announced a case of the new highly mutated variant on Thursday, a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first individual detected with omicron in California.

All three cases have mild symptoms or are recovering, according to health officials.

The Minnesota Department of Health said an adult male, who lives in Hennepin County, had the variant. He was vaccinated about six months ago and received his booster in early November, department officials said in a briefing Thursday.

He had mild symptoms on November 22, which have since disappeared.

He told the Minnesota Department of Health that he traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from November 19 to 21.

Minnesota health officials are working with New York health officials to determine who the man may have come in contact with. He had not traveled overseas and officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said transmission of the virus was very likely to have occurred during the convention.

A statement from the Javits Center, which at one time was a New York City vaccination center, said visitors are required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks indoors.

Because the Minnesota man attended the convention, the variant is likely to spread to New York City, Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi said on Twitter on Thursday, urging convention attendees to watch out. get tested immediately and take precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

A person close to the man in Minnesota has tested positive for the coronavirus with a rapid test, officials said. The result is investigated and the person is isolated, they said.

Governor Tim Walz said “the news is worrying, but it’s not a surprise.”

“We know this virus is highly infectious and is moving rapidly around the world,” he said.

A Colorado resident also contracted the variant strain of the virus, the state’s health department confirmed Thursday. The woman, who lives in Arapahoe County, had recently traveled to South Africa and was fully vaccinated, but had not yet received a booster.

She is experiencing mild symptoms and is isolating herself at home, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

On Wednesday, the CDC and the California Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health identified a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22 as the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in the United States – three days before scientists in this country announced that they had identified the new variant.

The person in California, an adult under 50, developed symptoms days after arriving in the United States and was tested on November 28, California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a briefing Wednesday. The test came back positive for Covid-19 on Monday, November 29.

“The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is in self-quarantine and has since tested positive,” the CDC reported in a statement.

Close contacts of the California case have undergone Covid testing and so far no one has tested positive. The California individual was fully vaccinated with two doses of the Moderna vaccine, but was not eligible for a booster.

The omicron variant has a high number of mutations which suggest it can spread just as or more easily than the delta variant, which accounts for 99.9% of Covid cases in the United States

Scientists have warned that it is still not clear whether omicron is more dangerous than other versions of the virus that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide. It is also not known how well vaccines and treatments would work against the variant.

The World Health Organization said Monday that the overall risk of the new variant is “very high”.

Meanwhile, public health experts continue to recommend proven ways to protect against Covid: vaccination and booster, wearing masks indoors and in overcrowded spaces, and maintaining physical distancing.

The variant has been detected in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong, among other countries.

As world leaders and health experts urge people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, some countries are struggling to vaccinate their populations due to lack of access.

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