People in masks walk near Little Island park in New York City.
  • Five Omicron coronavirus variant cases have been found in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
  • She said the vaccination status of most of the people infected was not clear.
  • The Omicron variant has now been found in five US states.
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Five cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday.

Hochul said at a briefing that the cases were "no cause for alarm," but that health officials "are taking this extremely seriously from the public health perspective" and are "not complacent," Politico reported.

All five of those cases were found in the New York City metropolitan area. Officials said they were:

  • One case in a 67-year-old woman in Suffolk County, Long Island, "with some vaccination history" who recently been to South Africa.
  • Two cases in Queens.
  • One case in Brooklyn.
  • One more "suspected traveler case" someone who was in "one of the five boroughs."

Officials said it was not known if four of the people were vaccinated.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City told the briefing that people should assume the variant is spreading in New York, and should take measures like vaccinations and masks.

Omicron has a large number of mutations, which is concerning to scientists.

Having more mutations increases the chances that Omicron is more transmissible, escapes the immune protection from vaccines or previous infection, or causes symptoms that are different from other variants. However, it is not yet clear yet if Omicron does any of these things.

As of Friday, the variant has been found in at least 28 countries.

In the US, Omicron has also been detected in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Hawaii.

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