New U.S. push for vaccines, boosters to stem ‘raging’ Omicron

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Doina Chiacu and David Brunnstrom


Publishing date:

Dec 19, 2021  •  27 minutes in the past  •  4 minute learn  • 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. well being officers urged Americans on Sunday to get booster photographs, put on masks and watch out in the event that they journey over the winter holidays, because the Omicron variant raged the world over and was set to take over because the dominant pressure within the United States.

The authorities is gearing up for the following part of battle in a two-year battle towards a virus that has killed 800,000 individuals within the United States and disrupted each facet of every day life.


Two U.S. senators, Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, mentioned on Sunday they examined optimistic for COVID-19 however had been experiencing solely delicate signs.

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Warren, 72, mentioned on Twitter she was “grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated and boosted,” and urged different Americans to do the identical.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, advised CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the variety of Omicron circumstances will rise steeply within the subsequent two weeks.


“A big message for today is if you’ve had vaccines and a booster, you’re very well protected against Omicron causing you severe disease. So, anybody listening to this who’s in that 60% of Americans who are eligible for a booster but haven’t yet gotten one: This is the week to do it. Do not wait,” he mentioned.

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Omicron is multiplying quickly, making COVID-19 vaccinations and booster photographs extra essential than ever, chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned on Sunday. Currently, 27% of U.S. residents haven’t gotten even a single dose of vaccine, in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is just, you know, raging through the world,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, mentioned on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Omicron has been present in 43 out of fifty U.S. states and round 90 nations up to now.


New York state recorded 22,478 optimistic COVID-19 circumstances on Saturday, Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted on Sunday, marking the state’s third every day report in new optimistic circumstances in three days.

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More than half of the state’s new circumstances recorded on Saturday had been in New York City, the place Mayor Bill de Blasio known as for the nation to “go on a war footing” to battle the Omicron variant with extra vaccinations. He mentioned town would spend $10 million on an promoting marketing campaign to promote booster photographs.

The variety of circumstances is doubling in 1.5 to three days in areas with group transmission, the World Health Organization mentioned on Saturday.

In sure areas of the United States, 50% of the COVID-19 checks genetically sequenced detected the Omicron variant, Fauci advised CNN, “which means it’s going to take over.”

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The virus is forcing sports activities leagues to reschedule video games and leisure venues to cancel exhibits. The National Basketball Association postponed 5 extra video games on Sunday.

The National Hockey League mentioned it agreed with its gamers affiliation to proceed its 2021-22 regular-season schedule, as practically all gamers and employees are vaccinated, however would briefly shut down particular person groups on a case-by-case foundation. It additionally postponed cross-border video games involving Canadian and U.S.-based groups by means of Thursday.

In a reminder of the pandemic’s early unfold on cruise ships, about 4 dozen friends and crew members aboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas ship, which docked in Miami on Saturday, examined optimistic for COVID-19, NBC News reported, citing a press release from the corporate.

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Colorado Governor Jared Polis advised NBC he was contemplating altering the definition of totally vaccinated in his state to three photographs from two. “I wish they’d stop talking about it as a booster. It really is a three-dose vaccine,” he mentioned.


President Joe Biden plans to give a speech on Tuesday concerning the rising COVID-19 circumstances, hammering residence his message to unvaccinated Americans to get a shot and for those that are vaccinated to get a booster.

Part of Biden’s technique is to concentrate on elevated testing, Fauci advised CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We really need to flood the system with testing. We need to have tests available for anyone who wants them,” he mentioned.

Hospitals in some components of the nation are already turning into strained by COVID-19 sufferers and issues are seemingly to worsen, the well being officers mentioned.

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“The government is prepared now to start sending out surge teams as needed to places that are really hit hard and the president’s going to have more to say about that in a speech on Tuesday,” Collins mentioned.

Neither Fauci nor Collins urged vaccinated Americans to cancel journey plans – simply to put on a masks always in airports, on planes, trains and buses.

“I’m not going to say you shouldn’t travel, but you should do so very carefully,” Collins mentioned.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)

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