A case of Omicron was detected in Northern California, becoming the first U.S. victim infected with the new variant of coronavirus.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Dec. 1, White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci said the patient had returned South Africa to San Francisco on Nov. 22.
Fauci revealed that the patient, who was fully vaccinated, tested positive Nov. 29, CNBC reported.
“We feel good that this patient not only had mild symptoms, but actually the symptoms appear to be improving,” he said, adding that the individual is self-quarantining.
All of the patient’s close contacts have been contacted, but they all have tested negative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. case of Omicron variant after genomic sequencing was initially conducted at the University of California.
Omicron, first detected in South Africa, is a new, heavily mutated variant of coronavirus.
Since it was first reported to the World Health Organization a week ago, Omicron has been found in Canada, the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Hong Kong.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly two dozen countries across the world have detected Omicron cases.
“At least 23 countries from five of six WHO regions have now reported cases of Omicron and we expect that number to grow,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.
“WHO takes this development extremely seriously and so should every country. But it should not surprise us,” he said. “This is what viruses do. And it’s what this virus will continue to do, as we long as we allow it to continue spreading.”
Tedros said that WHO advisory groups are evaluating the emerging evidence and studies to learn about the Omicron’s effect on transmission, disease severity, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics, and vaccines.
However, the WHO added that the highly transmissible Delta variant is still responsible for almost all cases globally.