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Anime convention attendee who became one of first Omicron cases speaks out

The Minneapolis man who tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in one of the US’s first cases has spoken out, saying it had not “crossed my mind” that he might have been exposed to the virus.

Peter McGinn, 30, who is fully vaccinated and received a booster shot, said he went out following the Anime NYC 2021 event at the Javits Center last month to a bar with several other vaccinated attendees, half of whom have since tested positive for the virus, ABC News reported.

“I felt perfectly safe with the people that I was with, and so it never really crossed my mind to think that I had COVID,” McGinn, a health care analyst, told the network Sunday. “I was just a little taken aback.”

McGinn said after returning to Minneapolis from the trip, he learned that a friend with whom he had attended the convention contracted the virus.

On Nov. 23, McGinn took an at-home test that showed he was positive for the virus. He then went to a large testing site for a PCR test that confirmed his result.

Anime NYC released a statement saying that anyone who was at the convention should get tested.
Anime NYC

“That threw me for a loop because I really wasn’t feeling sick,” he told the Star Tribune.

He said he had a slight runny nose, a mild cough and felt exhausted — but chalked it up to walking 15 miles a day during his trip to New York City.

State health employees conducted genetic sequencing on his sample and informed him on Dec. 1 that he was one of the first cases in the US of the new variant.

“I’m essentially patient zero,” McGinn told the New York Times.

He said he recovered quickly from the illness — which he attributes to being fully vaccinated and receiving a booster shot.

“A lot of it was just like, ‘See, vaccines don’t work.’ But in my opinion, they absolutely work because they reduce the amount of people who are in the hospital,” he told the Star Tribune. “You might still get COVID, but it reduces the symptoms based off my experience.”

Costumed attendees take a break during Anime NYC at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on November 20, 2021, where one of the first US cases of the Omicron variant were detected.
Costumed attendees take a break during Anime NYC at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on November 20, 2021, where one of the first US cases of the Omicron variant was detected.
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images
Several cosplayers at the Anime convention at the Javits Center on November 20, 2021.
Several cosplayers at the anime convention at the Javits Center on November 20, 2021.
Anime NYC

The World Health Organization has classified Omicron as a “variant of concern.”

Experts said they’re still working to learn more about the variant, which was first detected last month in South Africa by scientists.

Omicron is believed to be more transmissible, though it’s unclear whether it causes more severe disease or is resistant to vaccines.

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