New York is latest state to identify cases of COVID-19 omicron variant

Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 02, 2021

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that the state has identified five cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

"Let me be clear: This is not cause for alarm," Hochul said in a tweet. "We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread."

The omicron variant has now been identified in New York, Minnesota, California and Colorado.

The man who tested positive for the omicron variant in Minnesota said he had traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21. At this point, it's unclear whether that was a source of spread.

New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi encouraged everyone who attended the event to get tested.

"It is likely that this is not an isolated case, meaning that there is ongoing community spread of the Omicron variant in NYC," he said.

President Biden Thursday revealed his nine-point planto fight COVID-19 over the winter.

The plan includes free at-home COVID-19 tests, pushing booster shots for all adults, and working to get more kids vaccinated.

Biden said he's also strengthening testing requirements for people entering the U.S. regardless of their vaccination status.

All inbound passengers will now be required to test negative for the virus one day prior to travel.

"We're going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion," Biden said.

The World Health Organization identified the omicron variant as a "variant of concern." However, it's unclear whether the variant causes more severe illness or can escape protection from vaccines.