US Faces Coming Covid omicron Surge As It Grapples Delta

Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a meeting with US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and other members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team regarding events surrounding the Omicron COVID-19 variant from the White House government cafeteria. in Washington, USA, December 9, 2021

Leah Millis | Reuters

On Friday, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. is seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the omicron variant, as the country is grappling with a growing delta outbreak.

“We are now facing a very important delta surge and we are looking over our shoulder at the impending omicron surge,” Fauci said during a White House briefing on Covid. “Apparently unvaccinated people … are indeed at high risk of serious infection, including hospitalization.”

According to the director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Rochelle Walenski, the average seven-day number of new Covid hospitalizations jumped 4% over the previous week.

Fauci said Thursday that the omicron will become the dominant Covid variant in the US in a few weeks, and Walenki repeated that forecast in a Friday briefing.

Health officials called on unvaccinated people to get vaccinated, and people who are already fully vaccinated to get boosted as soon as they are eligible, six months after the completion of a two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna, and two months after one Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Fully vaccinated people will feel much better than people without vaccines, but “optimal protection is a full vaccination plus a boosted vaccination,” Fauci said.

Fauci told CNBC earlier Friday that regulators are ready to revise the definition of full Covid vaccinations as cases rise.

The delta variant accounted for about 97% of all Covid cases analyzed in the last week ended Dec 11, according to the CDC, while omicron accounted for about 2.9% of all cases.

Omicron accounts for a higher proportion of cases in some regions of the country. In the New York and New Jersey area, 13.1% of all cases last week were due to the omicron.

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