The United States confirmed its first case of the omicron variant on Wednesday. Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated this morning that it is a person who traveled from South Africa to California on November 22. His test confirmed the contagion on Monday, Fauci told a news conference at the White House. The patient is vaccinated with two doses against the coronavirus and is currently in quarantine in San Francisco. “His symptoms are mild and have improved these days,” said the expert. The United States government is fine-tuning the details of its strategy to contain the winter ascent of the new variant, which is more contagious according to the WHO. The measures, which include new requirements for travelers, will be announced Thursday by President Joe Biden.
Fauci has indicated that the patient’s contacts were subjected to analyzes and that these have been negative. The United States is one of the 19 nations around the planet that have already confirmed the presence of the new variant in their territories. California has one of the fastest and most effective disease detection systems in the country. This was the gateway to the coronavirus in March 2020 and it is also the first state to identify variant B.1.1.529, which has worried several leaders in the last week because it will increase the number of infections in the season. Gavin Newsom, the governor of the entity, published a message to reassure the population. “We must assume that [ómicron] it is in other states as well. But there is no reason to panic. We must remain vigilant. This means getting vaccinated, receiving a third dose and wearing a mask indoors, ”the president wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, November 26, the country joined the list of nations that have banned flights from eight African countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa, a measure that has been considered controversial. The omicron variant is closely followed by health experts, who believe it could displace delta as the prominent one in the world. At least 10 European nations have confirmed that they have patients under observation infected with this version composed of more than 50 mutations, which makes it more contagious and, in theory, more resistant to antibodies. Health authorities in the Netherlands confirmed on Tuesday that they had the presence of this variation before it was confirmed by their South African colleagues.
President Biden said a few days ago, in line with what Newsom said on Wednesday, that the rise of the new variant was a cause for “concern, but not for panic.” The president tries to convince the population to go to inject a booster of the vaccine for the winter season. More than 80% of adults in the country have received at least one puncture. About 60% have the complete immunization schedule.
The rise of the coronavirus omicron has forced the United States health authorities to consider new requirements for travelers. Washington is considering requiring tests carried out 24 hours before arrival for all those who enter the country and is considering the possibility of ordering a mandatory seven-day quarantine. The official announcement will be made by Biden this Thursday as part of the revelation of his strategy for the coming months. Experts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are also studying the proposal that travelers undergo a second examination, already in the United States, between three and five days after their arrival.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.