President Joe Biden issued a warning on Thursday that the Omicron strain of the coronavirus will begin to spread far more quickly in the United States, urging Americans to get vaccinated or boosted.
“The only real protection is to get your shot,” he said, predicting “a winter of severe illness and death” for the unvaccinated.
He spoke as the United States gets increasingly concerned about the latest chapter of the coronavirus pandemic’s nightmare.
The average number of new cases of infection each day as of December 1 was 86,000. On December 14, it had risen to 117,000, a 35% increase.
Biden emphasised the need for booster shots for individuals who have already been vaccinated, as well as the first injection for those who have not been immunised.
G7 health ministers appealed for international cooperation against the Omicron strain, which they described as the “biggest current threat to global public health.”
The new variant-related outbreak has expanded across the globe, prompting additional European countries to impose travel restrictions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is currently experiencing 1,150 COVID-19 deaths every day, making it the world’s worst-affected country (CDC).
The United States appears to be in for a harsh winter.
Because of an increasing number of positive tests among theatrical companies, Broadway shows are being cancelled.
To try to stop the virus from spreading, major US institutions are reverting to online classrooms and assessments.
After 100 or so players tested positive since the beginning of the week, the National Football League has implemented tighter health controls. Games have been rescheduled in the NBA as well.
There has also been a shift in tone in the White House.
Biden assured Americans a few weeks ago that the new type of the flu was no cause for concern.
At the close of a pandemic meeting on Thursday, he called reporters in to deliver a clear message to Americans: those who have been vaccinated should get a booster, and those who have not been vaccinated should get their shots.
Deputy White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre had previously stated that the government does not intend to impose any specific restriction measures at this time and will instead focus on immunisation.
“The tools that we have, we know are working,” she said, adding, “We’re just going to continue pushing forward… to get Americans vaccinated and boosted.”
Biden, who was elected primarily on a promise to address America’s health-care crisis, revealed a proposal on December 2 to prevent a sharp increase in infections, hospitalizations, and death.
But, understanding how sensitive the topic is, he refrained from implementing more stringent measures.
Americans, like the rest of the world, are fed up with the pandemic, and Republicans have consistently opposed ordering people to be vaccinated or wear masks.
When the Omicron strain was discovered a few weeks ago, the US halted travel from many southern African countries but did not impose any extra restrictions, and domestic aircraft were not subjected to any additional health restrictions.
In any case, Biden’s moving room is limited, as evidenced by many lawsuits that have stalled his order requiring larger corporations to vaccinate their employees.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the United States passed 800,000 COVID deaths on Tuesday.
This is more people than certain states, such as Alaska and North Dakota.
Approximately 450,000 individuals have died from COVID this year, the majority of whom were unvaccinated, despite the fact that effective and free vaccines became available in the spring.