COVID-19's Omicron variant has found its way to five states in the U.S.

Tests have revealed that the Omicron variant had infected at least five people in the New York City metropolitan area late Thursday, as well as a man from Minnesota who attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November.

A woman from Colorado who recently traveled to southern Africa, a Hawaii local with no recent travel history, and another California person who recently traveled to South Africa have also contracted the disease, health authorities said.

Much about the new strain of the virus remains unknown, including if it is more contagious than the original variant, as some scientists think, whether it can evade immunizations, and whether it causes individuals to become as ill as the original strain. Each state's health officials stated that there was no reason for panic.

However, the spread of the infections, some of which involved persons who had not traveled recently, indicated that the virus was likely already spreading domestically in some parts of the United States.

Among the sick New Yorkers were a 67-year old woman from Long Island who had recently been to South Africa, residents of Brooklyn and Queens, and another case that may have been related to travel.

"We have to assume that there is much more to that and that it has existed for an extended period of time," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a joint news conference with Gov. Kathy Hochul.

At least one individual had received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but authorities did not provide details about the inoculation status of the four other cases.

Authorities in Minnesota reported that a man who had not gone outside the U.S. developed symptoms the day after attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention in New York City.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that the man most likely contracted COVID-19 at the event, but officials were unsure.

Officials in New York said they were attempting to locate attendees of the convention, which took place Nov. 19-21 and drew approximately a crowd of 50,000 people.

The World Health Organization has designated Omicron as a "variant of concern" as researchers investigate how it compares to the more prevalent Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity.

Additionally, scientists are examining the extent to which currently available vaccinations and medicines protect against Omicron.