CDC Identifies First Omicron Variant Case in US

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Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified the first documented case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 occurring in the U.S. with a patient in California, multiple outlets have confirmed.

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 variant was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa in late November, and designated as a “variant of concern” (VOC) by WHO two days later. President Joe Biden responded to the new variant in a press conference Monday, calling Omicron “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins tweeted the news on Wednesday that a patient in California had been identified with the Omicron variant. A later tweet reported that Dr. Anthony Fauci had said that this individual had returned to the U.S. from South Africa on Nov. 22, was fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms.

New York Times White House correspondent Michael Shear confirmed Collins’ reporting, quoting a CDC spokesperson as saying that the individual “was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021” and “was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving.”

UPDATE 2:07 pm ET: Moments ago, the CDC tweeted a statement officially confirming an Omicron variant case in the U.S., encouraging Americans to get vaccinated, and boosters for those over 18 years of age.

This is a breaking story and has been updated.

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