On Nov. 27, Chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, told NBC that he suspects that COVID-19’s omicron variant is already in the United States.
Although there have not currently been any reported cases of the South Africa originating omicron variant in the United States, President Joe Biden announced a travel ban to the country as well as seven others in an attempt to restrict the spread of the variant.
However, the ban may have been enforced a little too late.
On Saturday, Fauci told Weekend Today:
“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 been noted in Israel and Belgium and in other places when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably, is ultimately going to go essentially all over.”
With little information on the variant and the severity of its effects, Fauci expressed how important it is to get in front of the variant and limit the spread as much as possible.
Subsequently, Biden’s travel ban was announced in an effort to slow down the spread, and to buy the United States some time to get more information on the Omicron variant.
“Its ability to infect people who have recovered from infection and even people who have been vaccinated makes us say this is something you have to pay really close attention to and be prepared for something that’s serious,” Fauci said. “[…] It may not turn out that way, but you really want to be ahead of it.”
When asked about ways to stop the spread, Fauci went on to say, “It is absolutely essential that unvaccinated people get vaccinated and that vaccinated people get boosters.”