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Dr. Fauci says threat of Omicron variant won’t be known for about two weeks

White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci said Friday it will be approximately two weeks before scientists fully understand how transmissible and severe the omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 truly is, and until then, people need to get vaccinations and booster shots.

During a briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Fauci said South African researchers are leading the way but even their studies will take another week or two to get clinical data.

“It will take approximately two more weeks to have more definitive information on the transmissibility, severity and other characteristics of the variant,” the White House said in a statement Sunday after President Biden met with his COVID-19 response team.

The Omicron variant has not yet been detected in California or the U.S., although experts say they fully expect it. Confirmed cases already have been reported in Ontario, Canada.

Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Omicron is probably more transmissible than other variants. Its mutations “would strongly suggest that it would be more transmissible,” Fauci said. Troublingly, “it might evade some of the protection of monoclonal antibodies,”

“If you look at the pattern of what’s going on right now in southern Africa — particularly in South Africa — when you have a spike of infections, they are very heavily weighted toward this new variant, the Omicron,” Fauci said. “And, therefore, you have to presume that it has a good degree of transmissibility advantage.”

While Omicron is highly contagious, “what we don’t know is whether it can compete with Delta,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday. At this stage, Omicron is listed as “a variant of concern.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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