A man who attended an event in New York and then tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 says that 15 of his friends are also sick. The Minnesota man attended Anime NYC at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC. He's told health officials that his friends who were a part of a group of 30 were all at the event. It's not clear if they caught the latest variant of the deadly virus, but health officials are investigating.

Organizers of the event said they are not sure if the man caught COVID-19 at the event since all attendees needed to have at least one dose of the vaccine and wear masks. Kelly Comboni, president of LeftField Media which put the event together said,

There have been no other mass cases reported from our event, and we are now way past two weeks.

While the Omicron variant has infected 8 people, so far, in New York, the Delta variant is the main source of COVID-19 infections across the state, according to the New York Department of Health.

For samples of SARS-CoV-2 collected between November 7 and November 20, 2021 from New York State that are sequenced and entered into Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), 100% were the Delta variant, compared to 99.2% in the previous two-week period.

Here's what we know about the Omicron variant so far,

1. It originated in South Africa and has since been found in Great Britain, Isreal, and other countries,

The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.

Photo by Jacques Nel on Unsplash
Photo by Jacques Nel on Unsplash
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2. According to the World Health Organization the Omicron variant has many mutations,

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
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3. Omicron poses a higher threat of reinfection,

Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.

Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash
Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash
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4. Omicron seems to have the potential to spread at a faster rate than other variants of COVID-19,

This variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
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5. The WHO is reminding people that previous safety protocols should remain in place to help prevent infection from Omicron,

Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash
Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash
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6. The doctor who first discovered the Omicron variant, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, says the symptoms, so far, have been mild,

What we are seeing clinically in South Africa — and remember I’m at the epicenter of this where I’m practicing — is extremely mild, for us [these are] mild cases. We haven’t admitted anyone, I’ve spoken to other colleagues of mine and they give the same picture.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Photo by CDC on Unsplash
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