First US Case of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Detected in California

In Summary

After first being reported in South Africa and sparking travel bans, the COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected in the United States.  

The first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected in California, a source confirmed to CNN.  

The omicron variant has been designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. Scientists in South Africa first identified it, but Dutch health officials said it was in Western Europe before reaching the African nation.  

RELATED: Omicron COVID-19 Variant Found in Europe Before Reaching South Africa  

Scientists said the variant, also known as B.1.1.529, has a high number of mutations. Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, said the variant is spreading fast. He also advised the public to avoid “super spreading events.”   

Since being detected in South Africa, President Joe Biden introduced new travel bans from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the United States, BNC previously reported.  

RELATED: WHO Updates About New COVID Variant Omicron, Calms Renewed Fears 

It remains unknown if the variant causes more severe illness than others, like the delta variant which remains the most dominant around the globe, but WHO officials warn it could pose a global risk if the correct measures aren’t taken.  

Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated as they continue to monitor the new variant. In addition to the United States, the variant has been reported in 23 other countries.  

RELATED: Vaccine Inequity Contributed to Emergence of Omicron COVID-19 Variant  

This is a developing story that will be updated.  

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