Anthony Fauci, the top COVID-19 advisor for United States President Joe Biden, said that it is too soon to decide what actions need to be taken with the growing concern of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, including possible lockdowns in the country.

In an interview with ABC News, Fauci said that the United States should be prepared to do “anything and everything” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus variant, which was first detected in South Africa earlier this week.

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He also mentioned that the United States has “the potential to go into a fifth wave” of coronavirus infections amid rising cases and stagnating vaccination rates, according to reports from the Guardian.

Fauci, speaking to NBC in a previous interview, said he “would not be surprised” if the Omicron variant of COVID-19 — classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization– had already entered the United States.

“You know, I would not be surprised if it is. We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve noted in Israel and Belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go, essentially all over,” Fauci said, according to US media reports.

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Scientists know that omicron is genetically distinct from previous variants including the beta and delta variants, but do not know if these genetic changes make it any more transmissible or dangerous. So far, there is no indication the variant causes more severe disease, according to reports from Associated Press.

The possibility of the Omicron variant being a threat to public health remains unclear until now, even though some factors in the genetic changes of the virus seem to be alarming. The Beta variant of COVID, which was earlier thought to be a major concern, did not end up spreading very far.