Drs Fauci and Walenski testify in Senate on US reaction to omicron

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Top health officials in the US will testify before the Senate on Tuesday about the federal government’s response to the omicronic Covid option as new infections and hospitalizations reach the peak of the pandemic.

The Senate Health Committee will hear testimony from White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walenski and Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

Don O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, is also testifying.

The hearing comes amid criticism from the CDC for its public reporting of the pandemic, especially its quarantine guidelines. The CDC has cut the isolation period to five days for people who have Covid, but has discouraged people from getting tested before coming out of isolation.

The Biden administration was also criticized for a lack of tests across the country during the busy holiday travel season as new infections grew across the country.

Fauci will likely face questions about how vaccines cope with the highly mutated omicron variant. Omicron can partially bypass the protection provided by vaccines. This variant is more contagious than previous strains and looks less serious, although researchers are still collecting data.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reduced the waiting period for booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna to five months in order to get more than a third of vaccinations in the hands of people, in order to increase protection in communities across the United States as omicron spreads.

The US reports more than 750,000 new infections every day in seven days, according to CNBC’s analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. This is 53% more than the previous week and is a pandemic record.

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