President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday that the United States would likely see record numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as the omicron variant spread.
In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union program, Fauci told host Jake Tapper that gloomy days are ahead.
“We are going to see a significant stress in some regions of the country on the hospital system, particularly in those areas where you have a low level of vaccination, which is one of the reasons why we continue to stress the importance of getting those unvaccinated people vaccinated.”
Fauci added that “It is going to be tough. We can’t walk away from that, Jake. We can’t because with Omicron that we’re dealing with, it is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into the winter.”
He continued, “This virus is extraordinary, it has a doubling time of anywhere from two to three days. Right now, in certain regions of the country 50 percent of the isolates are Omicron which means it is going to take over.”
The Omicron variant was first detected last month in South Africa, was found within the United States earlier this month.
Scientists are still trying to learn more about the variant, but officials confirm that it has a fast-doubling time.
Fauci said on Sunday that while officials had anticipated a new variant, they had not expected the number of mutations from the omicron variant.
“We definitely saw variants coming. I think what one referred to, what was not anticipated was the extent of the mutations and the amino acid substitutions in Omicron, which is really unprecedented,” Fauci said.
“It kind of came out of nowhere, where you have a virus that has 50 mutations, 30 of which are in the spike protein and 10 or 12 of which are in the receptor binding domain. I mean, to me, that’s really quite unprecedented.”
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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