Omicron variant identified in Pennsylvania

Coronavirus

The South African doctor who alerted officials of the possibility of a new variant, later named omicron, said the “unusual but mild” symptoms were what caught her attention. (Photo: Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Philadelphia resident has tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

The person who tested positive is a man in his 30’s from Northwest Philadelphia. Cases have also been identified in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New York.

South Africa initially reported the identification of the variant to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 24. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is currently unknown how efficiently the Omicron variant can spread from person to person.

“Analysis of the changes in the spike protein indicate that the Omicron variant is likely to have increased transmission compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but it is difficult to infer if it is more transmissible than Delta,” the CDC said.

The CDC also added that due to the small number of cases attributed to the Omicron variant, assessment of the severity of the variant is difficult.

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