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Omicron affair with New York tie shows how virus exceeds response

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Organizers said Mr McGinn could have contracted Omicron elsewhere. “It was just a person who was at our event,” said Kelly Comboni, president of Left Field Media, which organized Anime NYC. “No other mass cases were reported during our event. “

Back in Minnesota a few days before Thanksgiving, Mr. McGinn felt unusually tired. His slight cough was probably his asthma, he thought. After a long sleep – about 14 hours – he was feeling fine.

Next, Mr McGinn heard from a friend at the convention who lived in North Carolina and had tested positive for the virus.

On November 23, he took a home Covid test, which came back positive. He also went to a large testing site for a PCR test.

Other friends at the convention, all vaccinated, reported that they too had been infected.

“One guy had a bad day, but mostly mild symptoms for everyone,” Mr. McGinn said. “It was staying home, grabbing a blanket and watching some kind of movie.”

Mr McGinn said he had no idea who infected whom or where.

On the evening of December 1, health officials in Minnesota were confident that a batch of samples they had recently analyzed for mutations included their first case of Omicron. An investigator, Kathy Como-Sabetti, called Mr. McGinn to find out who he might have been exposed to the new variant. Mr. McGinn told her about the anime convention, with its crowds. “I was like, ‘Wow, well, that changes our history,” ”she said.

Minnesota officials immediately called the New York City Department of Health with the bad news. “They took it very easily,” Ms. Como-Sabetti said.