37 min agoBiden’s three messages about the new Omicron variant US President Joe Biden, flanked by Dr. anthony Fauci (R), delivers remarks to provide an update on the Omicron variant in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)President Biden underlined three messages in his address to Americans on the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus:
The variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.
“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day,” he said Monday. “We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.”
The best protection against Omicron is the vaccine.
“I know you’re tired of hearing me say this, the best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there, the ones we’ve been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” he said.
If you’re 18 years or older and got fully vaccinated before June 1, go get the booster shot today, he told Americans.
“They are free and they are available at 80,000 locations coast to coast,” he added. “Do not wait. Go get your booster if it’s time for you to do so.”
He also emphasized that children who are 5 years and older should be vaccinated.
If vaccines need to be updated to fight Omicron, the US will act fast.
Scientists are currently racing to determine if the existing vaccines provide adequate protection against the Omicron variant. In the case they don’t, Biden said the US will act fast to update its vaccine supplies.
“In the event, hopefully unlikely, that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool,” he said.”We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed,” he added. “But so that we are prepared, if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed.”
“I will also direct the FDA and the CDC to use the fastest process available without cutting any corners for safety to get such vaccines approved and on the market if needed.”
42 min agoBiden credits South African scientific community for quickly notifying the world about OmicronPresident Biden opened his remarks on Monday about Omicron by crediting the “scientific community in South Africa” for its “transparency” in sharing information about the new variant with the rest of the world.
“To their credit, the scientific community in South Africa quickly notified the world of the emergence of this new variant,” Biden said. “This kind of transparency is to be encouraged and applauded because it increases our ability to respond quickly to any new threats, and that’s exactly what we did.”He said that the “very day the World Health Organization identified the new variant” the administration “took immediate steps to restrict travel from countries in southern Africa.”
Biden said that while those restrictions “can slow the speed of Omicron, it cannot prevent it.”
The President said that the restrictions give the US time “to take more actions, to move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get your vaccine.”
“Sooner or later, we’ll see cases of the new variant here in the United States,” Biden said.
34 min agoBiden: Omicron variant is a cause for concern, not for panicUS President Joe Biden delivers remarks to provide an update on the Omicron variant in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)President Biden is giving an update about the new Omicron variant.
“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” Biden said. “We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day, and we’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.”While no cases of the new variant have been reported in the US so far, the Biden administration is attempting to limit the spread. New US restrictions on travel from South Africa and seven other countries took effect today, as his administration seeks to assure Americans that they are moving swiftly to try to contain the threat.
Remember: Much is still unknown about the transmissibility of the new variant and how effective vaccines will be in protecting Americans against it.
59 min agoSpain confirms its first case of Omicron variantFrom CNN’s Pau Mosquera
Health authorities in Madrid have diagnosed the first case of the Omicron variant in Spain, they said in a statement on Monday.
“The Microbiology Service of the General Gregorio Maranon Public Hospital has sequenced and confirmed this case. It’s a 51-year-old man who returned from South Africa on November 28, with a layover in Amsterdam,” the statement read.
The man first tested positive for Covid-19 at Barajas airport in Madrid, where he underwent an antigen test after arrival.
“The patient has mild symptoms and has been placed in quarantine,” the Madrid health authorities added in their statement.
1 hr 10 min agoWHO spokesperson: South Africa should get “gold medal” for transparency on Omicron variant, not travel bansFrom CNN’s Naomi Thomas
South Africa should be praised for the quality of its science and transparency around the detection the Omicron variant, not face travel bans,
The President urged Americans to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19. He added that ‘sooner or later’ the Omicron variant will be detected in the US.
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