CNN and other sites report that the first infection with the multiply-mutant “Omicron” strain of coronavirus has been found in the U.S.
The United States’ first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been identified in California.
In a White House news briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case was in an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29.
That individual, Fauci said, is self-quarantining and close contacts have tested negative for the coronavirus so far.
The person was fully vaccinated and is experiencing “mild symptoms, which are improving at this point,” Fauci said.
Asked by CNN whether that person had a booster shot, Fauci said, “To my knowledge, no.”
The hope, of course, is that the mutant, though a fast spreader, will trade that off against a milder illness. It’s clear this mutation spreads rapidly and looks as if it can sneak past existing vaccination, so let’s hope it doesn’t go for the whole trifecta.
Here’s a NYT figure showing the large number of mutations in the Omicron strain vs. the other strains. The right figure shows the spike protein, the virus’s armament. Look at all those mutations!