The primary case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected within the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci introduced on Wednesday.
The case was first recognized by the San Francisco Departments of Public Well being in California and confirmed by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).
Fauci mentioned the person had returned from South Africa on November 22 and examined constructive every week in a while November 29.
‘The person is self quarantining and all shut contacts have been contacted and all shut contacts to this point have examined adverse,’ he mentioned.
‘The person was absolutely vaccinated and skilled gentle signs that are bettering at this level.
Particulars emerged minutes after President Joe Biden warned the nation that scientists could not know the complete affect of the Omicron variant for weeks at the same time as he sought to reassure Individuals there was no have to panic over the brand new pressure of COVID-19.
The president’s pandemic approval numbers have sunk underwater in latest days and his technique of imposing vaccine mandates has been upended by the courts.
However, along with his administration readying new restrictions on worldwide vacationers, he admitted there was nonetheless so much to study concerning the Omicron variant.
‘We will know within the subsequent a number of weeks simply not solely how transmissible the illness is however how in depth it’s, how harmful it’s and what harm it does, and most significantly, whether or not the vaccines we have now are able to coping with this virus,’ he mentioned on the White Home.
‘So I feel the jury’s nonetheless out.’
Approval of President Biden’s dealing with of the pandemic has plunged since June, in line with Fox Information polling, and will sink additional as his administration faces as much as Omicron menace
Genetic evaluation of Omicron’s mutations has raised fears that the brand new variant might be essentially the most harmful and infectious selection but.
The U.S. moved on Monday to close down journey from African nations the place the variant was first detected.
The Biden administration is weighing stringent new restrictions on worldwide vacationers.
However the president sought to supply a voice of calm, as he once more informed Individuals that vaccinations supplied one of the best safety.
‘As I mentioned, this new variant is a trigger for concern however not a trigger for panic. We have now one of the best vaccines on the planet one of the best medicines, one of the best scientists,’ he mentioned as he prefaced remarks on the financial system on the White Home with an replace on the pandemic.
‘We’re studying extra each single day and can struggle this variant with science and pace, not chaos and confusion.
‘So let me repeat what the medical doctors and scientists have affirmed: The most effective safety towards Omicron is getting a booster shot.’
He mentioned 135 million Individuals have been eligible for a booster however solely 40 million had obtained the additional shot.
‘Go get your booster shot at this time,’ he mentioned to individuals who bought their second dose greater than six months in the past.
‘And for those who’re not vaccinated, now’s the time to get vaccinated and take your youngsters to get vaccinated.’
The brand new variant is the newest problem to Biden’s presidency, which has been buffeted by repeated setbacks.
‘The brand new Omicron variant is an actual menace to Biden’s standing with the general public,’ Clifford Younger, of the Ipsos polling firm, informed Fox Information on Tuesday.
‘He gained the election on COVID, surfed the COVID wave for the primary a part of the 12 months and was harm by the Delta variant.
‘Omicron might additional weaken the president heading into the midterms.’
The newest Fox Information ballot discovered that 48 p.c of respondents approve of Biden’s dealing with of the pandemic, in contrast with 49 p.c who disapprove.
His rankings have crashed since earlier this 12 months when 64 p.c accepted and 34 p.c disapproved in Could and June.
Biden has mentioned the brand new variant is a ‘trigger for concern not a trigger for panic,’ and is planning to stipulate his winter pandemic technique on Thursday
And the president has suffered setbacks this week, with three main courtroom losses this week freezing vaccine guidelines throughout the nation.
His approval numbers will probably worsen additional, mentioned Younger.
‘America has develop into extra optimistic with anticipation of an finish to COVID,’ he mentioned.
‘And any examine on this development will negatively affect confidence general and in Biden extra particularly.’
Leaders all over the world are scrambling for an Omicron technique as they watch for scientists to evaluate the danger and for pharmaceutical corporations to put the groundwork for brand new vaccines or boosters.
On Monday, Biden mentioned the brand new variant was a ‘trigger for concern not a trigger for panic.’
A day later he mentioned: ‘On Thursday, I will be placing ahead an in depth technique outlining how we will struggle COVID this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns however with extra widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and extra.’
A World Well being Group official supplied grounds for hope on Wednesday, saying that almost all Omicron have been gentle and that there was no proof the brand new variant has any affect on vaccine safety towards severe sickness
A spokesperson for the worldwide well being company mentioned early knowledge recommend the mutant pressure is best at infecting folks than Delta, even the absolutely vaccinated.
However there was no signal but that present vaccines will likely be any much less efficient at stopping hospitalisations and deaths, the official informed Reuters.
Even so, Biden’s technique is below intense strain as opponents take to their case to the courts.
On Tuesday, a federal decide in Louisiana halted a nationwide mandate that sure well being care employees be vaccinated.
That got here a day after the mandate was blocked in 10 states by a courtroom in Missouri and shortly after a Kentucky courtroom overturned one other rule aimed toward federal contractors in three states.
Biden is contemplating whether or not to mandate a seven-day quarantine for all vacationers returning to the U.S. as his administration ponders its response to the brand new variant
It isn’t clear when the brand new insurance policies would take impact, however one of many officers mentioned it might be as quickly as inside every week because the world scrambles to reckon with the affect of Omicron
Vacationers wouldn’t be capable of forego the quarantine, even with a adverse Covid check, and might be fined for flouting it
Within the meantime, particulars have emerged of plans for dealing with worldwide arrivals with officers contemplating whether or not to pressure all vacationers to quarantine for seven days.
Vacationers wouldn’t be capable of forgo the potential quarantine mandate, even with a adverse COVID check or full vaccination and booster shot, in line with the Washington Submit.
Any imposition of economic penalties for refusing to conform would mark the primary time federal fines are linked to quarantine and testing measures for U.S. vacationers.
Biden’s tentative plan would additionally require everybody coming into the nation to be examined someday earlier than boarding flights, no matter their vaccination standing or nation from which they’re leaving. One other requirement might pressure all vacationers to get examined once more inside three to 5 days of arrival.
Whereas the U.S. at the moment requires coronavirus testing of all vacationers coming into the nation, no matter vaccination standing, vaccinated vacationers have three days earlier than departing to have their check carried out. Unvaccinated vacationers at the moment should conduct their check not more than someday earlier than their flight.
It isn’t clear when the brand new insurance policies would take impact, however one of many officers mentioned it might be as quickly as subsequent week.
The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention proposed the 2 testing mandates in a draft public well being order that’s at the moment being reviewed by Biden and the Division of Well being and Human Providers.
The quarantine measures are usually not within the CDC’s draft, however might be added later in the event that they acquire extra assist, the nameless officers informed the Washington Submit.
The CDC is contemplating a spread of measures to guard Individuals towards the omicron variant, reminiscent of ‘the best way to make worldwide journey as secure as potential, together with pre-departure testing nearer to the time of flight, and concerns round further post-arrival testing and self-quarantines,’ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky mentioned throughout a White Home Covid briefing Tuesday.
She added that the CDC was additionally increasing surveillance applications at 4 main airports to check for Covid from particular worldwide arrivals.
Celine Gounder, a well being skilled who was a part of Biden’s Covid-19 response transition staff, urged the administration to place forth stricter measures. ‘If it have been as much as me, to fly you have to be absolutely vaccinated and we must also be testing 24 hours prior’ to flight,’ she informed the Washington Submit.
When information first broke of the unfold of the Omicron variant, the U.S. and quite a few different international locations instantly banned journey from the affected areas of South Africa. Particularly, the U.S. barred vacationers coming from any of eight southern African nations up to now 14 days.
Since then, the variant has been detected in not less than 19 different international locations across the globe. There have been no confirmed circumstances within the US, however specialists warn the variant is nearly actually already in america.
Scientists say it should take two weeks to actually work out how efficient jabs are towards the variant, which has twice as many mutations on its spike protein as Delta. The pressure is predicted to make present vaccines considerably weaker at stopping infections, however it’s much less clear the way it will affect hospitalizations and deaths.
Biden is scheduled to go to the Nationwide Institute of Well being in Bethesda, Md., on Thursday, the place he’s anticipated to elucidate his winter Covid-19 plan and mentioned that he doesn’t plan to implement shutdowns or lockdowns.
He has pushed for folks to get absolutely vaccinated and to get their booster shot to be protected towards Omicron and instructed folks have been masks whereas indoors in crowded situations.