The mystery of ‘patient zero’ infected with the American Omicron strain

The mystery of 'patient zero' infected with the American Omicron strain 6

The mystery of ‘patient zero’ infected with the American Omicron strain

With unique wigs and costumes simulating their favorite cartoon characters, about 53,000 people gathered at the Javits Center in Manhattan, New York City, USA, from November 19 to 21 to participate.

Peter McGinn, a 30-year-old medical analyst from Minneapolis, Minnesota, landed at La Guardia Airport in New York on November 18 to join the crowd.

Returning to Minnesota a few days before Thanksgiving, McGinn suddenly felt unusually tired, but guessed that the mild cough was probably due to asthma.

On November 23, McGinn conducted a nCoV test and received a positive result.

On the evening of December 1, Minnesota health officials announced the results of gene sequencing of a batch of recently collected patient samples, including McGinn’s sample, and said that one of them was infected with Omicron, a mutation identified by the Organization.

A day later, Minnesota state health authorities announced that McGinn was the first case of Omicron infection in the US.

People dressed as cartoon characters attended an anime convention in New York City, USA, on November 20.

Observers say McGinn may never know this.

Nearly two years since nCoV entered the US, the country has built a testing capacity superior to the rest of the world and is gene-sequencing about 14% of positive PCR test samples, to search for possible pathogens.

Some places such as New York City and Massachusetts have also established large-scale contact tracing teams.

However, commentator Joseph Goldstein and his team of colleagues at the NY Times assess that among the tens of thousands of cases infected with the Delta variant every day in the US, Omicron can easily slip through the surveillance network and spread silently in the community.

US health officials still do not know whether the anime convention in New York was a super-spreader event or not.

`It is possible that the event partly caused the Omicron strain to spread, but it seems more likely that the virus has once again gone beyond the reach of health officials, who simply cannot keep up,` the comments said.

Of about 30 people that McGinn remembers interacting with while in New York, about half have tested positive for nCoV.

To avoid repeating the mistake of not being able to catch the rapid spread of the virus in March 2020, New York officials urgently promoted the gene sequencing program in recent days and discovered 7 cases of Omicron infection.

New York’s mutation monitoring program is relatively robust, but there are still delays.

Dr. Ted Long, who oversees New York’s contact tracing program, said he received news that five city residents who attended an anime convention were infected with the virus, but it was unclear whether they were infected with Omicron or Delta, the mutation that is causing the virus.

McGinn’s case also shows the difficulties in contact tracing.

Meanwhile, Tian Chang, one of the artists attending the conference, recalled feeling nervous in the crowded hall filled with people.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is assisting the New York City and Minnesota State Departments of Health to monitor the outbreak.

`I think there is no need to call the 53,000 attendees,` said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, adding that everyone who came to the conference should comply

`I think a practical measure for contact tracing in this context is that everyone should consider themselves as close contacts of an infected person,` El-Sadr said.

Omicron is the nCoV variant first discovered in Botswana on November 11 and reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24.

Omicron has spread to 47 countries and territories around the world.

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