Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all affirm circumstances because it spreads to eight states

A medical employee administers a nasal swab Covid-19 take a look at to a traveler on the Dignity Well being-GoHealth Pressing Care testing web site within the worldwide terminal at San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

At the very least eight U.S. states now have at the very least 20 circumstances of the extremely mutated omicron Covid-19 variant after Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all confirmed infections Friday. 

The information comes in the future after 10 circumstances had been confirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation’s first case of the variant in a affected person in San Francisco on Wednesday and tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday. 

Maryland well being officers confirmed circumstances in three residents from the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. One affected person was vaccinated and lately traveled to South Africa, and one other was unvaccinated and an in depth contact of that affected person, in keeping with a press launch from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. 

The third Maryland case is unrelated to the others and includes a vaccinated particular person with no current journey historical past, the press launch mentioned. Not one of the three people are hospitalized. 

The affected person in Pennsylvania is a person in his 30s from Northwest Philadelphia, in keeping with the Philadelphia Division of Public Well being. The division continues to be working to get extra info on the case, it mentioned in a press launch.

Hours earlier, Nebraska officers confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently contaminated 5 members of their family.

The primary affected person returned from Nigeria on Nov. 23 and have become symptomatic on Nov. 24, in keeping with a press launch from the Public Well being Options District Well being Division.

Solely one of many six individuals had been vaccinated and none have required hospitalization, the division mentioned.

New York officers confirmed 5 circumstances late Thursday: one in Suffolk County on Lengthy Island, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one other in New York Metropolis. Minnesota public well being officers confirmed the second U.S. case of variant earlier that day in a resident who lately returned from attending a conference in New York Metropolis.

The U.S. is among the many listing of 38 nations with confirmed circumstances of the omicron variant, the World Well being Group on Friday. 

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened pre-departure testing guidelines for worldwide flights and prolonged masks mandates on public transportation as a part of a broader technique to curb the unfold of the brand new variant. 

Nonetheless, officers in New York and Hawaii, who reported circumstances of the variant Thursday, mentioned they imagine omicron is already spreading of their communities.

“This isn’t simply resulting from people who find themselves touring to Southern Africa or to different elements of the world the place Omicron has already been recognized,” New York Metropolis Well being Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi advised reporters at a press briefing Thursday. 

Omicron has greater than 30 mutations to the spike protein, which the virus makes use of to connect to human cells. Among the mutations are related to increased transmission and a lower in antibody safety, in keeping with the WHO. 

Well being officers within the U.S. and worldwide have nervous that the variant could cut back the efficacy of vaccines to some extent.

“The molecular profile of the sorts of mutations that you simply see [in omicron] would counsel that it is likely to be extra transmissible and that it would elude among the safety of vaccines,” White Home chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci advised reporters Wednesday. “However we do not know that now.”

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