US Government Relaunches Contact Tracing Amid Growing Omicron Variant COVID-19 Cases

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The Omicron COVID-19 variant has finally arrived in the United States as health officials and some communities have reported detecting the new variant. Now the government has decided to relaunch its contract tracing operations to study how contagious it is and whether it can beat existing COVID-19 vaccines.

Contact tracer Alejandra Camarillo works in June at a Harris County public health facility in Houston. (PHOTO: David J. Phillip / AP)

Contact tracing operations in the United States

New York City officials have already started contacting more than 5,000 attendees at a lively conference at a Manhattan convention center last month after five attendees tested positive for COVID-19, Chron reported . As of yet, officials have yet to confirm whether this is the Omicron variant.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his contact tracing team immediately worked with each attendee to determine who else was in attendance at the conference. He stressed that when Omicron has reached US shores, contact tracing is absolutely crucial at this point.

In 2020, the city was declared the global epicenter of the pandemic, which led authorities to deploy the largest contact tracing operations in the country. New York City has already identified four cases of Omicron since Thursday, December 2, and a fifth was recently detected in neighboring Suffolk County on Long Island.

Other states that also detected the Omicron variant were California, Colorado, and Hawaii.

ALSO READ: Omicron COVID-19 variant is more transmissible and contagious than other strains

Omicron case in the United States

According to Texas News Today, there are now more than 20 cases of the Omicron variant in the 10 states of the United States. They vary by age and vaccination status, as well as travel history. But none of them developed serious illness from the infection.

Although some of them have already traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first discovered. On the other hand, some of the patients had never traveled to Africa, indicating that there is already community transmission of the variant in the United States.

Dr Anthony Fauci said in an interview that there is no exact number yet as to how many patients are infected with the new variant, but there is no doubt that it is spreading across communities. Public health officials are still collecting data on how contagious Omicron is and whether it could avoid the immune protection provided by vaccines.

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