Market Reverses Course and Closes Down 1.4% After U.S. Reports First Case of Omicron Variant
The coronavirus known as Omicron has now reached at least 23 countries—including the first case reported in the United States—according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The first U.S. case was detected in California in an individual who had recently traveled to South Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the heavily mutated Omicron variant, also known as B.1.1.529, was initially discovered in the African nation.
The California resident, who was vaccinated, began experiencing mild symptoms a week ago and testing spotted the variant today. The individual was not hospitalized, but is in isolation with contact tracing already underway.
Omicron has also been found in Canada, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, the UK and many other nations across the globe. Experts had been warning that it was only a matter of time before it was detected in the United States and other countries.
It is not yet clear whether this variant causes more severe symptoms, which is why health professionals continue to urge caution and vigilance. Scientists and medical professionals are asking for patience in studying how current vaccines and treatments work on Omicron and continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and/or boosted, wear masks indoors, and practice social distancing and good hygiene.