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Biden pushes masks, vaccination to fight Omicron variant of COVID-19

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In addition to restricting travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region starting Monday, President Joe Biden pushed COVID-19 vaccination as the best way to fight the new Omicron variant of the virus. Biden’s comments came following a meeting with his COVID-19 Response Team over the weekend.

“Dr. [Anthony] Fauci informed the President that while it will take approximately two more weeks to have more definitive information on the transmissibility, severity, and other characteristics of the variant, he continues to believe that existing vaccines are likely to provide a degree of protection against severe cases of COVID,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting. “Dr. Fauci also reiterated that boosters for fully vaccinated individuals provide the strongest available protection from COVID.” Booster shot eligibility for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were recently expanded to all adults.

Focusing strictly on vaccination, Biden did not announce any new Omicron variant-related restrictions beyond the travel ban Monday. He did urge Americans to mask up when “indoors, in public settings around other people.” Asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” if more U.S. restrictions were imminent, Fauci said, “I don’t think so at all.” Later, on “CBS Mornings,” he said, “Let’s not be talking about lockdowns.”

Despite these comments, the prospect of lockdowns already has some prominent officials up in arms.

During his Monday morning news show tour, Fauci went on to say while it hasn’t been detected yet, the Omicron variant would eventually reach the U.S. He said it could become the dominant strain because it “has a transmissibility advantage” over other variants.

Pharmaceutical companies are already tweaking their existing COVID-19 vaccines to better attack the Omicron variant. However, Fauci said Americans should make it a priority to get either their first shots or a booster dose now, rather than waiting weeks or even months for a newly formulated shot.

“I would strongly suggest you get boosted now,” Fauci said, adding that depending on what scientists learn about the Omicron variant in the coming weeks, “we may not need” targeted boosters to contain the variant.

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Annie Andersen: THERE WAS NO LONG WEEKEND FOR SCIENCE LEADERS AS THEY PREPARE FOR THE OMICROM VARIANT TO ARRIVE IN AMERICA.

President Joe Biden: “This variant is a cause for concern. Not a cause for panic.”

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI MET WITH THE PRESIDENT IN-PERSON ON SUNDAY TO DISCUSS HOW THE U-S SHOULD APPROACH OMICRON.

FAUCI ALSO WENT ON THE SUNDAY SHOWS TO URGE PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED, TELLING PEOPLE TO PREPARE FOR THE WORST,  ADDING THAT IT’S POSSIBLE WE COULD SEE MORE LOCKDOWNS AND MANDATES  SIMILAR TO WHAT AUSTRIA IMPLEMENTED LAST WEEK.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: ”People talking about lockdowns. People talking about that.  Lets see what the information we’re getting in real time tells us and we’ll make decisions based on the science and the evidence, the way we always do.”

Annie Andersen: SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AREN’T HAPPY WITH THIS POSSIBILITY.

REPUBLICAN CHIP ROY FROM TEXAS TWEETING ‘NO. FULL STOP. NON-NEGOTIATABLE.’

ARIZONA REPUBLICAN ANDY BIGGS TWEETING, FAUCI IS STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT. AND IT SHOWS.

N-I-H DIRECTOR DOCTOR FRANCIS COLLINS SAYS ITS TOO EARLY TO KNOW HOW OUR CURRENT VACCINES WILL RESPOND TO OMICRON.. BUT ADVISED PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED.

STRAIGHT FROM DC I’M ANNIE ANDERSEN