On Friday, senior U.S. health officials attempted to reassure a concerned public that the federal government is doing everything it can to track and contain the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said in a press briefing that scientists are closely monitoring the rate at which the number of cases doubles to see if Omicron can overtake Delta and become the dominant option in the United States – and if so then when. This variant is currently found in six states, although most of the cases are returning travelers.
In about two weeks, he said, “we will learn more about transmission, immunity evasion and disease severity.”
He suggested that with the emergence of a new variant, which has several worrying mutations that have yet to be fully evaluated, booster injections have become even more important. He said studies have now shown that the third dose of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna markedly increased antibody levels in recipients and increased memory B and T cell levels. All three are important indicators of how well the immune system can defend against coronavirus.
“While we have not yet proven this, there is every reason to believe that if you get the vaccinations and boosted vaccinations, you will have at least some degree of cross-protection, very likely from serious illness, even from the Omicron variant,” he said.
More people have been vaccinated on Thursday, the day after the first reported case of Omicron infection in the United States, than on any day since May, according to Jeffrey D. Zientes, President Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator. Mr Qing said there were 2.2 million injections, including over a million booster shots.
While it is risky to draw conclusions from one-day totals, especially when the holiday season can cause delays in reporting, Mr Zient called the surge “important progress.”
Dr. Rochelle P. Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country is better equipped to fight the virus than a year ago, citing more prevention and treatment options and “more knowledge and experience in fighting virus. other options such as Delta. “