Omicron affair with New York tie shows how virus exceeds response
Some municipalities, such as New York City, and states, such as Massachusetts, have established large-scale contact tracing organizations. Most of the American population – 60 percent – is vaccinated. Just weeks ago, before Omicron’s identification, there was widespread hope that the pandemic, at least in this country, would abate. People felt safe when they presented their proof of vaccination – as required for entry – and walked into the Javits Center for the convention.
But amid tens of thousands of new Delta infections in the United States every day, the landing and spread of Omicron is easily hidden. Many coronavirus infections are asymptomatic or have only minor symptoms, slipping under the radar.
Indeed, it remains unclear whether the anime convention was a super broadcast event. “We found no evidence of widespread transmission at the convention,” Adam Shrier, spokesperson for New York City’s contact tracing program, Test and Trace Corps, wrote in an email. .
It is also unclear whether Mr. McGinn was infected at the convention or by another attendee. But he spent successive days at the convention and evenings with other convention attendees.
Of the 30 or so people he remembers socializing with in New York City, about half have since tested positive for the coronavirus, Mr McGinn said. However, none of the states they live in have announced whether these people also have the Omicron variant.
Much remains unknown about Omicron, including how deadly it is or how much protection Covid vaccines offer against it. But epidemiologists are again talking about flattening the curve, by wearing a mask and behaving more carefully. And they are urging action now, to avoid a repeat of the mistakes made in March 2020, when New York officials were slow to understand how quickly the virus was spreading throughout the city.
In the past four days, the New York Genome Sequencing Program has detected seven cases of Omicron among New York City residents, although health officials have provided little information on the cases. “All of these cases are believed to have no connection with the recent Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center,” the governor’s office said in a press release Saturday morning.