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Omicron arrives in the United States

Air China flight crew members wear hazmat suits in the Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Jae C. Hong

Omicron arrives in the United States

The White House reported on Wednesday that a traveler who arrived in California from South Africa had tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, said the person landed in California on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29. The University of California, San Francisco, conducted genomic sequencing to identify the variant, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the finding. The traveler was vaccinated against COVID-19 but had not received a booster shot. Fauci said the patient has mild symptoms and is recovering.

Is the omicron variant serious? Fauci and other health officials have said it will take two to four weeks for scientists to test the new strain. The variant’s high number of mutations could affect whether vaccines are effective against it, and companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson said they will adapt their vaccines if necessary. South Africa, which was first to report the variant, said new COVID-19 cases within its borders doubled on Wednesday alone. The CDC now requires a negative COVID-19 test for any international travelers to the United States, regardless of vaccination status. President Joe Biden, who is urging Americans to get vaccinated and get booster shots, is expected to announce a new U.S. strategy to combat COVID-19 on Thursday. The delta variant is still the dominant strain worldwide.

Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift on omicron’s effect in South Africa.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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Costco is serving free samples again even with masking.


Be careful what PHOTOS you use with your headlines.
Now those people in the photo are the ones people think has OMICRON.
As our daughter pointed out, they could become targets. Were they even on the same plane?


World you quote Dr. Fauci on the severity of the omicron variant, who evidently is unfamiliar with it, but you don’t bother looking for Drs in South Africa who are familiar with it and have already been treating patients? Where is the journalism?
What is with the picture? 3 guys in tyvex suits walking thru an airport? Whose side are you on? The side of truth and not sensationalism I hope.


World won't let me vote thumbs up so I will just tell you I agree.


I, too, agree with you.

World has been a bit disappointing since the onset of lockdowns last year. Still, I subscribe because we need a reasonable alternative to Big Media.


It never ceases to amaze me that the narrative continues that only unvaccinated people are vulnerable and dangerous to others and must be controlled. Yet, week after week, we see more evidence that vaccines will not end this pandemic. Nevertheless, I think I can predict what President Biden's plan to stop Omicron is: vaccine, vaccine, and more vaccine! Never mind vaccinated people can get it (and likely pass is on). VACCINE!

not silentNanamiro

I am in the medical field, and I don't know of anyone who is currently saying vaccines will end the pandemic. Nor do I know of anyone saying that vaccinated people can't get the virus. What they ARE saying is that the virus is probably here to stay but that people who are vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized and/or to experience severe illness.

Nanamironot silent

Most people hear what the media, politicians and bureaucrats are saying, not the local EMT, ER nurse or doctor. Policies being implemented imply that the vaccinated are safe and the unvaccinated are a risk to others (ie. unvaccinated people have to undergo testing to participate in certain social gatherings or continue working, whereas vaccinated do not). Politicians and medical bureaucrats (at least where I live) are constantly sending the message that getting everyone vaccinated (and now boosted) is the way to get back to normal. There are billboards, signs, TV and radio ads implying this all over the place.

not silentNanamiro

Respectfully, I am a bit confused about why both your comments seem focused on a message you clearly disagree with. Why not join me in setting the record straight?


“The White House reported on Wednesday that a traveler who arrived in California from South Africa had tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.“. “The traveler was vaccinated against COVID-19 “ . Who should wear a mask?