- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2021

Minnesota on Thursday reported an omicron case in a person who recently traveled to New York City for an anime convention, marking the second known instance of the variant first detected in South Africa and another sign the strain is probably lurking in several corners of the U.S.

The person is an adult male from Hennepin County who was vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms that have resolved. 

He told disease trackers that he traveled to the convention at the Javits Center in New York from Nov. 19 to 21. His symptoms appeared on Nov. 22 — days before South African scientists sounded the alarm over the situation in their country.

Officials in California confirmed Wednesday the first U.S. case of omicron, which has a number of mutations associated with swift transmission and, potentially, an ability to elude vaccines.

Yet San Francisco officials said that case, too, was mild and occurred in a vaccinated person who had traveled to South Africa.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the case underscored the need to follow basic precautions against COVID-19.

“We still have more to learn about Omicron, but the most important thing we can do right now is to use the tools we have available to make it as hard as possible for this virus to spread,” Ms. Malcolm said. “In addition to vaccination and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants by using the tried-and-true prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul acknowledged the connection between the Minnesota case and her state and planned to address it Thursday.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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