1st case of Omicron’s COVID variant detected in Mass. – NBC Boston – .

1st case of Omicron’s COVID variant detected in Mass. – NBC Boston – .

The new, highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus was first detected in Massachusetts, the State Department of Public Health said on Saturday.

The individual is a woman in her twenties from Middlesex County who had traveled outside of Massachusetts. She is fully vaccinated, has had a mild case of COVID-19 and has not required hospitalization, officials said.

The variant had already been detected in several states across the country this week.

With the new omicron variant of COVID-19 found in California, health officials are calling for safety as new data is collected and analyzed.

Evidence has shown that omicron is more transmissible than other COVID variants, and it has been called a ‘variant of concern’ by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, but the Department of Public Health noted on Saturday that “Scientists are still working to determine how it can compare to the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity of the disease.” ”

The spread of Omicron in the United States, Massachusetts

The first American case of the omicron variant was detected Wednesday in a vaccinated person who had flown from South Africa to California, announced Dr.Anthony Fauci, American expert in infectious diseases. The variant was discovered just over a week ago after being identified in South Africa, although earlier cases have been found in Europe.

The first case of the variant in Massachusetts was identified by genetic sequencing done at New England Biolabs, state health officials said.

The woman has not been identified and authorities did not specify where she had traveled outside of the state.

More than 10 states in the United States have reported cases of omicron, including at least eight in New York State. Connecticut became the second New England state to report a case, with Governor Ned Lamont announcing on Saturday evening that health officials had detected the state’s first case in a fully vaccinated man in his sixties whose a family member had traveled to New York.

What do we know about the Omicron variant?

This week, NBC10 Boston asked three of Boston’s top doctors to answer a few key open-ended questions about the omicron variant as part of our weekly « Q&R COVID » series, including how worried we should be about the omicron variant and if its symptoms are worse than the previous strains.

Three Top Boston Doctors Explain What The New Omicron Variant Is, If It’s Already In The United States, What The Symptoms Are, And If The Vaccines Protect Against It In The Weekly “COVID Q&A” Series.

“I think we should be vigilant, but not nervous,” said Dr Daniel Kuritzkes, head of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “President Biden said ‘This is a cause for concern, but not for panic’, which I agree with. There is every reason to believe that getting the vaccine and taking simple public health measures like continuing to wear a mask in crowded indoor situations are going to be very protective. “

The three doctors said they didn’t expect the symptoms of the omicron variant to differ much from other strains, but they also said it was too early to be sure.

“I’m not sure there are any major changes in the type of symptoms associated with these viruses,” said Dr. David Hamer, infectious disease specialist at Boston Medical Center. “One of the changes is if you get the vaccine and get a breakthrough case, you’re much more likely to have milder symptoms. “

Many experts, including Fauci, have said existing COVID vaccines should help prevent serious illness in people infected with omicron at least to some extent.

The mild nature of the California case is “a testament to the importance of vaccinations,” California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said on Wednesday.

But among the evidence that the omicron variant may be more infectious than previous mutations, there is recent research into re-infections in South Africa. Local scientists this week reported an increase in re-infections with the arrival of omicron that they had not seen when two previous variants, including the extra-contagious delta variant, crossed the country.

The results, posted online Thursday, are preliminary and have not yet been the subject of a scientific review. The researchers also did not specify which part of the re-infections were confirmed as cases of omicron – or whether they caused serious illness.

But the timing of the re-infection peak suggests that omicron “demonstrates substantial population-level evidence of evasion of immunity from a previous infection,” they wrote.

With the spread of the omicron variant of COVID in the United States, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have received their booster shots, hoping to inspire others to follow suit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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