Second U.S. Omicron Case Confirmed After Man Attended NYC Anime Convention

A Minnesota native who tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus — the second confirmed case of the new variant in the U.S. — attended a New York City anime convention just days before being diagnosed, the White House announced Thursday.

The unnamed male — who was fully vaccinated — tested positive for the Omicron variant on Nov. 24 in Hennepin County, Minnesota, days after traveling to and attending the Anime NYC expo at New York’s Javits Center, which ran from Nov. 19-21. The person has since recovered from the Covid variant after experiencing mild symptoms.

“Any contact tracing, which is imperative and important, would be done through the CDC and public health officials,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.

In the 10 days since the Anime NYC event, no New Yorkers have tested positive for the Omicron variant, Governor Kathy Hochul said at a Thursday press conference. “However, we are very cognizant of the fact that it’s very likely soon that someone is going to test positive for this,” Hochul said (via CNBC).

Organizers for the Anime NYC expo did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment at press time. According to the convention’s website, attendees over the age of 12 were required to be fully vaccinated, while all attendees were required to wear masks.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the United States, a California native who recently returned from a trip to South Africa — where scientists discovered the “variant of concern” — and soon after tested positive. The fully vaccinated patient only suffered mild symptoms; all of their close contacts have been contacted and tested negative for Covid.

Researchers are still determining the dangers posed by the Omicron variant, which — despite inducing mild symptoms in vaccinated patients — has at least 50 mutations, including about 30 changes to the spike protein that aids the virus’ ability to enter human cells, potentially limiting the vaccines’ ability to stave off the variant.

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