Omicron Could Have Spread Throughout New York and the United States Before Getting a Name


In the crowd was Peter McGinn, a man 30-year-old health care analyst in town from Minneapolis. He had attended discussion panels, chatted with many strangers about his anime podcast and, at the night, sang karaoke with his friends.

After flying back to home, he learned that one friend from the convention, who was an anime fan from North Carolina, had just been tested positive for the new coronavirus variant.

In the days to come, many more of his friends from the convention had been tested positive, as well. Coughing and feeling tired, Mr. McGinn also went to take a test. He had that new virus, too.


That was on November 23, a day before most scientists had even heard of this new variant that was tearing across the nation of southern Africa.

The World Health Organization had not yet even given the variant a name which is Omicron. But it has been already present in the United States, and being undetected.

That became apparent this past week, when the health authorities in Minnesota examined the new virus samples in the batch of recent tests.

One of them were from Mr. McGinn and it showed Omicron’s telltale mutations.

His infection, which had been announced by the Minnesota health authorities on December 2, is the first known instance of Omicron spreading within the nation of the United States.

“I’m essentially patient zero,” he had been said it in an interview from Minneapolis on Friday, though he too wonders how he contracted it. “It has been still a mystery for everyone.”

He may had not heard. The announcement came 10 days after the anime convention had been ended, leaving all the health authorities far behind, even before they realized the race against Omicron virus had begun.

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New York City health officials had even sent thousands of emails and text messages to the convention attendees and urged them to get tested.

But so far the authorities have yet to confirm any transmission of Omicron virus at the Anime NYC convention, which was held November 19 of the year 2021.

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It has been possible that the convention had contributed in little to Omicron’s spread. But it appears more likely that the virus is once again outpacing a public health response that has been simply unable to keep up.


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