(NewsNation Now) — A 30-year-old Minnesota man was among the first to test positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Peter McGinn had traveled to New York City to spend a few days in late November at a big anime convention with some friends.
“The Sunday evening of the convention, I started coming down with symptoms,” McGinn said during an appearance on “Morning in America”. “Which I thought was just the fatigue of being at the convention itself.”
When McGinn returned home to Minnesota, he found out one of the people he attended the convention with had tested positive for COVID-19.
After taking a test himself, he later found out that he not only had contracted COVID-19, but the recently identified omicron variant.
The first U.S. case of the omicron variant was reported on Dec. 1. As of Wednesday afternoon, the CDC had recorded 43 cases in 19 states.
McGinn and one other person in his party were eventually confirmed to have contracted the variant.
“There were some other people in my party that tested positive,” he said. “Until the samples are tested from their respective states, we don’t know yet. But it’s overwhelmingly likely that they probably had the variant.”
McGinn had already received his vaccination and a booster shot before attending the convention that required guests to be vaccinated and wear a mask.
More than three-quarters of the people in the U.S. who have been found to be infected with the omicron variant so far had been vaccinated, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.
She also said nearly all of them were only mildly ill.
“I had like fatigue, like exhaustion, a runny nose and a sore cough for about 24 hours,” McGinn said of his omicron symptoms. “Very mild.”
“One night’s rest actually cleared up everything for me,” he said.
The indicators on how quickly the omicron variant can spread was a huge concern for health experts.
But so far, even Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying that the data they’re seeing is encouraging.
“So far, what we’re seeing right now is that it’s a very isolated event that people within my party are testing positive,” McGinn said. “The majority of the people at the convention that I was not interacting with are all testing negative.”
Fewer than 1% of the U.S. COVID-19 cases genetically sequenced last week were the omicron variant; the delta variant accounted for more than 99%.
“I just wanted to get the word out there because I was one of the first people to contract it and the information was just not out there,” McGinn said. “So I wanted to share my story of ‘Hey, I’m vaccinated, but I got it, but here are my symptoms and here is how fast I recovered.'”
“I just wanted people to have if they’re feeling uncertain or were anxious about this new variant that at least I could give my personal experience from having it,” McGinn said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.