Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Several cases of Omicron variant found in New York

Health officials said Thursday that several cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in New York, including in a man who attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November and tested positive for the variant when he returned home to Minnesota.

In addition to the conference attendee, tests showed that five more people recently infected with COVID-19 had this option, health officials said. Among them were a man from a Long Island suburb who recently traveled to South Africa, residents of Brooklyn and Queens, and another incident possibly related to travel.

“There is no cause for concern. We just want to make sure the public knows about the information when we get it, ”said Governor Katie Hochul.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the geographic spread of the positive tests indicated that the option was “spreading to the population” in the city and was not associated with any one event.

The news comes a day after the US announced that the first case of the variant had been detected in California in a man who had recently traveled to South Africa.

Officials on Thursday reported another case in a Colorado woman who recently traveled to southern Africa.

According to the event organizers, the Anime NYC 2021 convention gathered around 50,000 people from Nov.19-21, and participants were required to wear masks and show evidence that they received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials in New York said they are working to track down attendees to a convention held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as New York prepares to host the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and prepares for crowds of tourists to return from USA. open to vaccinated international travelers.

Infections expected

Officials in the city of 8.8 million said they expect a new variant in the city to be only a matter of time. City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi urged everyone who attended the event to get tested.

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“We have to assume that there is a proliferation of this option in our city,” de Blasio said in a statement.

On November 22, a Minnesota man developed mild symptoms. He was vaccinated and boosted in early November, according to health officials in his home state. He applied for COVID-19 testing on November 24, and his symptoms disappeared, officials said.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Ian Malcolm said the man had not traveled outside the United States recently.

“Just given the timing … it seems entirely possible, perhaps most likely, that this broadcast happened at an arena convention in New York, but it’s not final,” Malcolm said.

November 22 was the same day that a person infected in California returned to the United States from South Africa. A traveler from California who was vaccinated developed mild symptoms and tested positive on Monday.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious as suspected by some health authorities, whether it causes more serious illness in people, and whether it might interfere with the administration of the vaccine.

Omicron is classified as an “option of concern” by the World Health Organization as scientists are working to determine how it can compare to the predominant delta option in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists are also studying the extent to which existing vaccines and treatments protect against the omicron.

Scientists in South Africa reported this for the first time, but samples were obtained from several countries in southern Africa. And health officials in the Netherlands now say it was discovered there before being found in South Africa.

‘Get vaccinated’

As the feeling of comfort around air travel returns, new options like the omicron will spread from country to country and from state to state, according to Professor Daniel Ompad, an epidemiologist at New York University’s School of Global Public Health.

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“We shouldn’t panic, but we should be worried,” she said.

Hochul said the case involving a visitor from Minnesota highlighted the need for anyone eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine or get boosted if they haven’t already.

“There is one way to solve this problem – New Yorkers have to get vaccinated, get boosted vaccinations and get ready,” said the Democrat.

Consul General of Japan in New York Kanji Yamanouchi delivered his opening speech at the convention.

A consulate spokesman said Yamanouchi was vaccinated and boosted about three weeks ago. He said consular officials were tested as a precautionary measure.

“He had absolutely no health problems,” consular spokesman Kenju Murakami said, noting that it was almost two weeks on Thursday.

The convention website states that Anime NYC is edited by Leftfield Media, an event management company based in Shelton, Connecticut. A company spokesman did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment.

Peter Tatara, its founder and event organizer, posed questions to the company representatives. He said that after this event he was checked “several times.”

New York City Council Ben Kallos, who appeared at the event with the Japanese ambassador, said Thursday’s rapid antigen test showed he was negative for the virus.

“I can attest to the fact that my vaccine was tested and I received the bracelet and the person who tested positive for the omicron was also fully vaccinated,” Kallos said, urging his fellow anime fans to get tested. “This suggests that even if you take all the precautions, we are still seeing breakthrough cases.”

Nation World News Desk
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