Following news that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus had been detected in nearly 20 countries around the world, President Joe Biden told Americans on Monday that the new mutation was “a cause for concern – not a cause.” cause of panic.”
While many of the specifics of the variant — from its transmissibility to its virulence to the body’s ability to evade an immune response — remain unknown, Biden pledged to “fight this variant with actions and speed of science and knowledge”.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases of the Omicron variant here,” Biden said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Monday.
Supported by Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci, his chief medical adviser, Biden said first and foremost the government’s response is to continue to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the virus. viruses — and look for boosters if they qualify.
Omicron’s discovery in South Africa last week caused a wave of panic in countries around the world, with some travel ban from African countries (a move that The World Health Organization condemns) and a massive market sell-off that made the day after Thanksgiving the worst Black Friday for the stock market in history.
As panic spreads over the new variant, the White House has issued a travel ban from eight African countries, effective Monday, and called for caution as scientists assess the likelihood of transmission and Omicron severity.
But the administration appears prepared for bad news: Fauci, the president’s most famous representative on public health issues, told NBC on Sunday that there is a “strong indication” that variation Omicron would have “the advantage of transmissibility and that it could evade immune protection.”
“The profile of the mutations clearly suggests that it would have an advantage in transmissibility and that it could evade the immune protection you would get, for example, from monoclonal antibodies or from blood. convalescence after a person is infected and can even resist Fauci said. “It’s not necessarily going to happen, but it’s a strong indication that we really need to prepare for it.”
However, the White House communications promoting the variant have yet to be synchronized — and not only when it comes to the pronunciation of the variant’s name, but Biden and Fauci on Monday referred to it as “Omnicron.”
Just hours before the ban on travel from South Africa and seven other countries was announced, Fauci told CNN he was inclined to wait for more information on the variation before recommending any similar rules for non-citizens.
“There is always the possibility of doing what the UK has done, namely blocking travel from South Africa and the countries involved,” said Fauci. “But you want to make sure there’s a basis for doing that.”
But in the absence of that information — which a White House bulletin released over the weekend suggested can take up to two weeks to gather — the administration has doubled down on pushing the measures, at least has so far worked reliably to prevent the spread of the virus.
While Americans are “really tired of hearing that,” Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN over the weekend, “the virus doesn’t tire us out.”
“We should redouble our efforts to use the tools that we have, which are vaccinations and boosters, and to make sure we’re getting them to the rest too,” Collins said. of the world,” Collins said. “It also means we need to pay attention to mitigation strategies where people really get sick, such as wearing a mask when you’re indoors with other people who may not be vaccinated and keeping a distance from others. social way.”
Or as the president said: “You have to get vaccinated, you have to get vaccinated, you have to get a booster. A fully vaccinated, health-enhanced person has the best protection against COVID. ”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-biden-says-omicron-variant-coronavirus-cause-for-concern-not-panic?source=articles&via=rss Joe Biden Says Omicron Coronavirus Variant ‘Cause For Worry,’ Not ‘Panic’