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Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

  • The person, who California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said is a resident of San Francisco and tested positive on Nov. 28, is self-quarantining. All close contacts have been notified and tested negative, according to the CDC.
  • The individual had not yet received a booster shot, NIAID director Anthony Fauci also noted in a White House press briefing.

What they're saying: "The recent emergence of the Omicron variant ... further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and general prevention strategies," the CDC said in a statement.

  • "We know what we need to do to protect people," Fauci said at the White House briefing following the CDC announcement. "Get vaccinated if you're not already vaccinated," he added. "If you’re eligible for boosting, get boosted right now.”
  • White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a statement later Wednesday: "The President’s medical team continues to believe that existing vaccines will provide some level of protection against severe illness from Omicron, and individuals who have gotten boosters have even stronger protection."
  • Newsom echoed the administration officials in a tweet, saying there’s "no reason to panic--but we should remain vigilant. That means get vaccinated. Get boosted. Wear a mask indoors."

The big picture: Since the variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa earlier last month, Omicron cases have been confirmed across Europe, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and Australia, among other countries.

What to watch: President Biden is expected to discuss the administration's plan for fighting the virus through the winter on Thursday.

  • "We're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more," Biden said earlier this week.

Go deeper: Omicron dashboard

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker