An estimated 53,000 people attended the three-day Anime NYC Convention at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, which ran Nov. 19 to 21.
“Our expectation is that we have individuals in New Jersey who attended the convention and may potentially be at risk,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a Dec. 2 statement. “I urge anyone who attended to get tested as soon as possible to stop potential spread of this variant and protect themselves, their families and communities.
According to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Minnesota man was vaccinated and only showed mild symptoms. He began exhibiting the symptoms on Nov. 22 and was tested on Nov. 24. The symptoms have since resolved, according to the event organizers. Proof of vaccination was required for entry into the convention.
While no cases of the new variant have been detected in New Jersey, five cases have already been identified in New York. Gov. Phil Murphy has said it’s only a matter of time before the omicron variant – first detected in South Africa – emerges in New Jersey. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the variant inevitably will show community spread.
The scientific community still knows little about the variant, such as how quickly it spreads, the severity of the symptoms, and to what degree it’s resistant against the existing COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Nonetheless, drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer, developers of COVID-19 vaccines, are studying the new variant and how they might need to adjust their current doses.
The news comes as cases continue to increase in New Jersey and across the nation. On Dec. 2, the state’s hospitals logged more than 1,000 total COVID-19 patients for the third day in a row, after hospitalizations dipped below the 1,000 mark in September. Meanwhile, the state reported 3,591 new positive COVID-19 tests, the largest single-day count since April.
Gov. Murphy retains several emergency executive powers through mid-January to respond to the pandemic, but he has not indicated whether he wants to extend those.
The state Health Department is “working with local health departments, clinical laboratories, hospitals and CDC to rapidly identify individuals who may have been infected with the omicron variant,” Persichilli said, and they’re in touch with health officials both from New York City and New York state.
De Blasio said the city’s Test and Trace Corps will be reaching out to conference attendees.
“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,” AnimeNYC said in a Facebook post.
Attendees should expect to be contacted by local health officials, and are “strongly advised to get tested.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]