“I want to send a direct message to the American people: Because of the steps we’ve taken, Omicron hasn’t spread as quickly as it would have otherwise,” Biden said after his Covid-19 briefing on Thursday at the White House.
“But it’s here now, it’s spreading, and it’s only going to get worse…. For the unvaccinated, we’re looking at a winter of terrible disease and death — for themselves, their families, and the hospitals that will soon be overwhelmed. However, there is some good news: if you’ve been vaccinated and had your booster dose, you’ll be protected from serious disease and death “Added the President.
Biden also urged people to become immunized in order to maintain the country’s economic recovery.
“We’re gonna protect our economic recovery. If we do this, we’re gonna keep schools and businesses open and I want to see everyone around enjoy that. I want to see them enjoy the fact that they’re able to be in school, that businesses are open and the holidays are coming,” he continued.
Biden’s warning comes as a chorus of public health officials are calling on Americans to get boosted to prevent serious illness.
As of Wednesday, only about 1 in 6 people in the US are fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19, leaving hundreds of millions at risk as the threat of the fast-transmitting Omicron variant looms.
The latest ensemble forecasts published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that new Covid-19 hospital admissions may reach record levels in the coming weeks, while new cases and deaths may reach levels last seen during last winter’s surge.
The CDC’s predicted increase in Covid-19 deaths would bring total deaths for the pandemic to 837,000 to 845,000 people by January 8.
An average of nearly 120,000 new cases are being diagnosed each day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — 50% more than a month ago. And more than 1,200 people are dying every day, on average.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is certain that Omicron will become the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States shortly.
“It has a three-day doubling time, as we call it. “We’ve seen it in South Africa, we’re seeing it in the UK, and I’m quite positive that’s what we’ll be seeing here pretty soon,” Fauci added.”
Fauci also stated this week that a variant-specific booster dose is not required at this time, but that there would “without a doubt” be breakthrough infections.