“We do anticipate there will be more cases,” Hochul said. “This is not cause for alarm; it was foreseen ever since it was first reported out of South Africa, that we knew it would come to New York State at some point.”
The city’s mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that “we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city.” The city is attempting to reach convention attendees through its contact tracing program.
The Omicron variant was first reported by South African researchers last week. Since then the variant has been identified in dozens of countries. The World Health Organization has labeled it a “variant of concern,” but has not confirmed whether the variant is more transmissible or if it poses a higher risk than earlier variants.
UPDATE – 12/4 (2:30am): Per a Washington Post story, the Minnesota man who tested positive for the Omicron variant after attending the Anime NYC convention met with 35 friends during the trip and around half of those people have also tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s unknown whether the other infected parties also have Omicron or another variant.
Meanwhile, the anime convention organizers are denying that the coronavirus spread at their event. In a statement to the Washington Post, they said that “many are making the assumption that the individual contracted the Omicron Variant sometime during their travel to New York City, in New York City, or when traveling home from New York City. No one knows when or how the Omicron Variant was contracted.”