State and federal officials are refusing to reveal where the first U.S. patient to have been identified with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus traveled en route to California from South Africa, where it is suggested that he or she contracted the virus.
On Wednesday, the White House revealed that the first Omicron variant case had been detected in San Francisco in a traveler from South Africa, aged between 18 to 49 years old. The announcement seemed to vindicate President Joe Biden’s decision, several days before, to announce a travel ban from South Africa and several other neighboring African countries.
However, there are no direct flights to California from South Africa, suggesting that the individual had to connect through another airport, where he or she may have exposed others to the virus — or, alternatively, where he or she could have been exposed.
The White House did not say, nor did reporters ask, where the traveler had connected through, or how long they had stayed there. A comprehensive report in the Los Angeles Times included many new details but also omitted the connection point.
Breitbart News contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The CDC referred inquiries to the CDPH; the CDPH responded that it “cannot provide or confirm this information due to patient confidentiality.”
Searches on travel websites indicate that any number of cities could have been the connecting point for the traveler — in Europe, in the Middle East, or on the East Coast of the U.S.
Several other Omicron variant cases have since been identified in the U.S., several of which did not involve any travel.
South Africa has protested the travel ban as overly harsh and hasty, calling it “health apartheid.” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made similar remarks, calling Biden’s policy and similar policies elsewhere “travel apartheid.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.