Covid-19’s omicron variant appears to be more transmissible, reinforcing the need for Americans to get vaccinations or booster shots, Anthony Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Report informs referring to Bloomberg.
Infections in the US are already rising and stepped-up prevention with the emergence of the new variant will impact whether Americans are “headed into a bleak or bleaker winter,” he said.
The omicron strain has spread rapidly in southern Africa and reached as far as Europe and Australia.
“Inevitably it will be” in the US, Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” on November 28. “The question is, will we be prepared for it?”
The US has yet to stand up a national, comprehensive effort to sequence Covid-19 cases to help detect new variants. Instead, federal officials have largely relied on piecemeal state operations and other private labs to track variants. South Africa, on the other hand, is considered to have advanced genomic sequencing capability.
Omicron’s “molecular characteristics that would strongly suggest that it would be more transmissible,” Fauci said. For now, “we don’t know yet what the level of severity will be” nor how easily the variant evades existing vaccines, he said.