Biden Believes Omicron Variant Arrival in U.S. is Inevitable
The new variant Omicron, believed to have originated in South Africa, has scientists and the president urging caution for when it arrives in the U.S.
During a press conference on Monday, President Joe Biden praised the quick response from South African officials.
“To their credit, the scientific community in South Africa quickly alerted the world of the emergence of this new variant,” he said. “This kind of transparency is to be encouraged and applauded because it increases our ability to respond to any new threats.”
The president had three messages he wanted the American people to hear today. The first was this new variant is cause for concern, not for panic.
“We have the best vaccines in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day,” he said. “We will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.”
Biden also said the best protection against Omicron and other variants is getting vaccinated.
“While it will be a few weeks before we know everything we need to know about how strongly the existing vaccines protect against the new variant, Dr. Fauci is with me today on our medical team and believe that the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease.”
His third point was if additional vaccines or boosters are needed, they are prepared to accelerate their development and deployment.
“We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed but so that we’re prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed,” said Biden.
President Biden also banned travel from eight African countries including South Africa starting Monday.