The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.
Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.
- Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had previously cautioned that the Omicron would “inevitably” be found in the U.S.
What they’re saying: “The recent emergence of the Omicron variant … further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and general prevention strategies,” the CDC said in a statement.
- “We know what we need to do to protect people,” Fauci said following the announcement. “Get vaccinated if you’re not already vaccinated.”
The big picture: Since the variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa earlier last month, Omicron cases have been confirmed across Europe, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and Australia, among other countries.