The New York Times has recently reported the first-ever case of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on December 1, 2021. Coincidentally on World AIDS Day, a day commemorating one of the last global health crises before the coronavirus.

This announcement comes on the heels of U.S. President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers receiving an injunction by a federal judge in Missouri. The judge stated that he felt such a mandate should be issued by Congress rather than a federal government agency, in this case, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Learn more: OSHA Lays Out Rules of Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

Most new cases in South Africa have been the new omicron variant since its start, which is likely due to a lack of vaccinationin poorer African nations. 

While the first patient in the U.S. was vaccinated and currently only has mild symptoms, the World Health Organization (WHO) has still labeled the variant’s risk as “very high.” The omicron variant is thought to be more contagious and less resistant to the defenses of the body’s immune system due to its more than 50genetic mutations.

The CDC warned of potential changes to international travel rules, including testing requirements once again for passengers. The CDC currently recommends COVID-19 testing for all travelers, three to five days post-arrival, and quarantining for the unvaccinated, regardless of test results.

President Biden is set to announce additional COVID-19 prevention plans tomorrow.

Learn more: Why Get a Flu Shot With the COVID-19 Vaccine?

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