Omicron to Dominate US, Deadly Winter for Unvaxed, World Stats, More

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Fauci: Omicron likely dominant in US soon

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci pushes back on statements by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

 

© AP/Pool

It’s going to be a bleak winter ahead, particularly for the unvaccinated, Anthony Fauci warned on Thursday.

He said the omicron variant will likely be dominant in the U.S. in “a few weeks” and warned of the possibility of hospitals being overwhelmed this winter.

He added, though, that people who are vaccinated, and especially those who have their booster shots, will be “relatively well protected, at least against severe disease,” saying he is most worried about the unvaccinated.

The omicron variant “will assume a dominant role very soon, I would imagine within a period of a few weeks to as we go into January,” Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said during an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

He noted that even before omicron is widespread in the U.S., the delta variant is already causing about 120,000 cases and about 1,000 deaths per day, making added pressure from omicron even worse.

“Besides the toll of suffering and death which will inevitably go up if in fact we have that convergence in the winter months of flu and omicron and delta, we could get our hospital systems overwhelmed,” Fauci said, noting that health workers are already exhausted after almost two years of fighting the pandemic.

The better news: There has been some reassuring news, though, that people who get their booster shots get restored protection against omicron, and that people with two shots still could have protection at least against severe disease.

That means the risk is widely variable depending on someone’s vaccination status.

“With omicron breathing down our back, things could get really bad, particularly for the unvaccinated,” Fauci said. “The vaccinated and those who are boosted I believe will be relatively well protected, at least against severe disease.”

The Biden administration has emphasized that boosters are the best response to the new variant, and has dismissed the idea of further business closures.

BIDEN: WINTER OF ‘SEVERE ILLNESS AND DEATH’ FOR UNVACCINATED

President Biden on Thursday warned of a winter of “severe illness and death” for unvaccinated Americans as coronavirus cases spike across the country.

Biden, in a meeting with medical advisers and Vice President Harris to discuss the pandemic, said the country was in a better position to deal with the omicron variant of COVID-19 because of steps taken to limit travel and increase access to boosters.

“But it’s here now and it’s spreading, and it’s gonna increase,” Biden said of the omicron variant, which experts think is more contagious than previous strains.

“For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death… for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm,” Biden continued. “But there’s good news. If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death, period.”

Biden stressed the effectiveness of booster shots in guarding against severe illness. He noted nearly 57 million Americans have gotten boosted, which experts have said is one way to guard against severe illness regardless of the variants.

Boosters would help keep the economy and schools open, Biden said

REGENERON SAYS ANTIBODY THERAPY LOSES POTENCY AGAINST OMICRON

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday that an antibody therapy frequently used in unvaccinated COVID-19 patients has “diminished” potency against the omicron variant.

“While Regeneron’s currently authorized REGEN-COV antibodies have diminished potency against Omicron, they are active against Delta, which currently is the most prevalent variant in the U.S.,” Regeneron said in an announcement.

The biotechnology company, however, said that its monoclonal antibodies were still active in patients who had either the omicron or delta variant.

“Regeneron has confirmed that multiple ‘next generation’ monoclonal antibodies from its large collection of fully human monoclonal antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 are active against the Omicron (B.1.1.529) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, as well as against the other variants of concern,” Regeneron said. “Pending regulatory discussions, we anticipate entering the clinic in the first quarter of 2022.”

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WORLD STATS

Coronavirus Cases:

273,328,942

Deaths:

5,355,743

Recovered:

245,500,76
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection
Highlighted in grey
= all cases have had an outcome (there are no active cases)

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Latest News

December 17 (GMT)

Updates

  • 27,743 new cases and 1,080 new deaths in Russia [source]
  • 2,627 new cases and 169 new dea
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