As governments and health authorities around the world battle to contain the spread of the new Omicron strain of Covid-19, it has been reported that one of the first cases detected in the United States—a man who had travelled to New York from Minnesota—was in the city to attend an anime convention.
The man, from Hennepin County, was vaccinated according to Minnesota’s Department of Health. After developing mild symptoms on November 22—which have already “resolved”—he was tested on November 24, before isolating.
Between November 19-21, however, he had been in New York City attending Anime NYC 2021 at the Javits Center, an event that attracted over 53,000 fans. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is now urging every single attendee of and worker at the convention to get tested immediately.
“We do anticipate there’ll be more cases,” said Ms. Hochul, per the New York Times. “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.”
Meanwhile New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that despite there still being no confirmed Omicron cases in New York, “we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city.” Contract tracers have been working overtime to identify and get in touch with everyone who had been in the Javits Center over that time period.
While authorities have been quick to alert attendees, at time of posting neither the Anime NYC website nor Twitter account have posted any mention of the health alerts. UPDATE 11:20pm: Anime NYC organisers have since sent out this email to attendees:
The Anime NYC team was notified today that one of this year’s attendees tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the attendee developed mild symptoms on November 22, was tested on November 24, and their symptoms have since resolved.We’re actively working with officials from the New York City Department of Health, who are coordinating with various state agencies, and all participants who ordered badges online, as well as exhibitors, artists, and partners. All attendees should receive an email or call from the NYC Test and Trace Corps or their local health departments with further information and recommended next steps. You are strongly advised to get tested.We thank our partners in New York City for their tremendous assistance and guidance both today and in the lead up to Anime NYC.