President Biden on Monday said the new omicron variant of coronavirus is a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”
He also maintained that his administration’s plan to combat COVID-19 this winter will not involve “shutdowns or lockdowns,” but a focus on increasing vaccinations.
The president spoke from the White House Monday, just days after the World Health Organization designated omicron a “variant of concern,” their most serious designation of a COVID-19 variant. “It gives us time,” Biden said, noting that the American people need to “understand that you have to get your vaccine, you have to get the shot, have to get the booster.”
“Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases of this new variant here in the U.S.,” Biden continued. “We’ll have to face this new threat like we’ve faced those that have come before it.”
“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day,” he said, adding that the U.S. “will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable action and speed – not chaos and confusion.”
Biden said the U.S. has “more tools today” to fight the omicron variant than the country has had before, citing vaccines and boosters for adults, and vaccines for children. The president re-iterated the importance of getting vaccinated, saying the shots are “the best protection against this new variant, or any out there.”
Biden was joined on Monday by Vice President Kamala Harris and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Officials briefed Biden for approximately 45 minutes Sunday on the new variant and again on Monday morning.
Biden praised South African scientists for their transparency and quick work in identifying and reporting the new variant. “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,” Biden said, adding that he does not believe the travel restrictions would make other countries less likely to report new variants.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES OF ISRAEL
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