COVID Testing in NYC

People line up at a COVID testing kiosk in New York City's Time Square Friday as the state has now reported five cases of the new omicron variant

The new omicron variant – which first emerged in South Africa - is now spreading through the United States, with at least 20 cases reported in 8-states.

The eight states include Nebraska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California.

According to an CNBC News report, the World Health Organization reported on Friday that the omicron variant is now present in 38 countries.

On Friday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release confirming six cases were detected among Nebraska residents, with one resident connected to “international travel to Nigeria.”

The resident in the first reported case got sick right before Thanksgiving and that the five other cases “were likely exposed through household contact with the first case.”

As of Friday, Florida had not announced any cases of the new variant – classified by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26, as the variant began to spread rapidly in South Africa.

CNBC News reported that Omicron has more than 30 mutations to the spike protein. Some of the mutations are associated with higher transmission and a decrease in antibody protection, according to the WHO.

On Thursday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that five cases related to omicron had been confirmed in the state.

One case was connected to an individual who had traveled to South Africa, while the other four cases were among New York City residents with no history of international travel.

Hawaii officials confirmed one case, according to a Department of Health press release. The individual was not vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms, but no history of travel.

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