CDC identifies the first case of Omicron variant in the U.S.

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani explains the latest on the Omicron variant, which has been detected in the United States.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Welcome back, everybody. That nice strong rally we had in the stock market earlier has evaporated. We now have a mixed picture. And that is after news broke that the US has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant that's in California, specifically in San Francisco. We are still learning more. As you can see, though, the market reaction has been swift. The NASDAQ now in the red by about three points. The Dow was up better than 300 earlier, now up just about 69. The S&P hanging on there with a gain of 23. I want to bring in our health reporter, Anjalee Khemlani, for more on what we know about this omicron case. Where did it come from? How did they trace it, Anjalee, here in the US?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, Alexis, what we heard-- and we just got more confirmation from Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking to reporters just moments ago to confirm this case that was, again, confirmed by the CDC and in San Francisco, which is where the case was tested. So this is from a returning traveler from South Africa who tested positive on the 22nd. That's when the collection of that test was taken. It was confirmed on the 29th, just after we found out, of course, the variant is circulating, in fact. And we've heard reports of this variant circulating around in Europe as well, even though it was first detected and confirmed in South Africa.

Since then, we know that the White House has implemented several travel bans and is considering stricter inbound traveler testing. That is what's on the table right now. But more on this specific individual, they appear to have mild disease, were fully vaccinated with two doses, to the knowledge of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, did not have a third booster shot, but is recovering and looks to be on the mend. We are waiting to hear more from the San Francisco Health Department shortly today.

KARINA MITCHELL: And Anjalee, I want to ask you really quickly, you know, we found out now about this case. It's taken a little bit longer here in the US than other countries. More than 20 other countries have already reported cases. What are experts saying about this first case?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, to be honest, they're actually not surprised. And they're saying that it was only a matter of time before we would detect it. And part of that is, in fact, because we know the sequence of the genetic sequence of this variant and can now look for it. So, as a result, once South Africa did let everyone have the sequence of it, San Francisco, which we know California has been one of the states that's been very good at sequencing the variants that have come down the pike, they were able to then test the positive result and check for the sequencing, the genetic sequencing, and then confirm it.

So, still no change in sort of the guidance that's coming down from experts, which is-- and including Dr. Fauci, which is please get your boosters. Try to remain masked or safe when it comes to larger crowds. And just keep a watch out right now because we do not know much more about this variant as it stands, whether it is more transmissible, whether it can present more severe disease, or whether or not vaccines will, in fact, hold up, even though, so far, some clues that we're getting from Israel and from South Africa do suggest that the vaccines will remain protective. Back to you.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, getting my booster today. Go out and get yours if you haven't yet. Anjalee Khemlani, thanks for that update.

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