By Maya Kaufman, Crains New York
A Minnesota man tested positive for the Covid-19 omicron variant several days after returning home from New York City, where he attended an anime convention at the Javits Center, according to Minnesota health officials.
The man, who is vaccinated, developed mild symptoms Nov. 22 and got tested two days later, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday.
In a news conference Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said there still had been no confirmed omicron cases in New York. She emphasized the importance of vaccination in fighting the coronavirus.
She noted that everyone who attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention, which took place Nov. 19 to 21, had to be vaccinated to attend.
“This is not cause for alarm,” she said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is working with the state, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the event organizers to conduct contact tracing among convention attendees.
“We should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city,” de Blasio said in a statement.
The convention required attendees to show proof that they had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, in line with the city’s Key to NYC requirements for indoor events and dining.
The World Health Organization has classified omicron as a variant of concern. Scientists are studying how it compares with the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity of symptoms.
The first confirmed U.S. omicron case was identified in San Francisco in a traveler who was isolating after returning home from South Africa.
The variant alarmed the world late last month, when South African authorities identified mutations that might make it more transmissible than earlier strains.
It might be weeks before scientists untangle whether those troubling changes mean the strain will spread faster, make people sicker or weaken immune defenses.