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New COVID variant omicron hits California

The first case of the latest COVID-19 variant has been detected in Northern California.

By Emily Faith Grodin, Staff Writer

On Wednesday Dec. 1 the CDC confirmed the first case of the omicron variant in the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke in a White House news briefing on Wednesday regarding the omicron variant after the first case that was detected in Northern California. The woman returned home on Nov. 22 after traveling to South Africa, where omicron is believed to have originated. On Nov. 29 they tested positive for COVID-19, though it was confirmed that the person was vaccinated.

According to the LA Times, the latest variant has been detected in at least 23 countries. Angelique Coetzee, the doctor who first discovered the variant in South Africa, noticed that patients who contract the omicron variant report fatigue, body aches and headaches. But there is no loss of taste or smell, and no cough, which are both consistent with other variants of COVID-19.

“At Valley, we have already implemented measures, including masking indoors, requiring vaccination or an exemption for enrollment of in-person classes, and making testing available on campus for all students and employees,” said President Barry Gribbons when asked about the campus plan should omicron hit the area.

This falls in line with guidance released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health which states that vaccines, indoor masking and testing remain the most effective tools in fighting the pandemic and the omicron variant.

While there is still much unknown about the variant, Beverly Hills infectious disease doctor Howard Pitchon believes that increased vaccination and testing are the most effective steps for containing the pandemic.

“It is clear from the discovery of the omicron variant in more than 20 countries so far,” said Pitchon, “This global pandemic is far from over.”

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