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The omicron Covid-19 variant that has prompted world journey restrictions and contemporary vaccine mandates since its discovery in southern Africa final month has now been present in 50 countries and 19 states throughout the U.S., CDC Director Rochelle Walensky mentioned Tuesday.
“While we are still working to understand the severity of omicron as well as how it responds to therapeutics and vaccines, we anticipate that all of the same measures will at least, in part, provide some protection against omicron,” Walensky mentioned throughout a White House Covid-19 press briefing, reiterating her name to get vaccinated.
Jeff Zients, who’s main the White House’s Covid response efforts, mentioned vaccinations have surged with roughly 12.5 million pictures administered during the last week — 7 million of which have been booster pictures.
“That’s the highest weekly total number of shots since May,” he mentioned. “So we’re now vaccinating people in numbers we haven’t seen since the spring.”
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned scientists ought to have some knowledge by the center of subsequent week that exhibits how effectively at present’s vaccines rise up to the brand new variant, which accommodates dozens of mutations that typically make it more contagious.
“We’ll be able to determine whether or not antibodies induced by all vaccines lose their capability of effectiveness with omicron,” Fauci mentioned of research taking a look at each dwell virus and “pseudo virus.” “In addition, we are doing animal studies to evaluate immune protection as well as efficacy of antivirals.”
He mentioned “real world evidence” in epidemiology and scientific research will definitively reply how transmissible and extreme the virus is in addition to whether or not or not it may evade vaccines.
Fauci pointed to a chart that confirmed a seven-day rolling common of confirmed omicron instances per 1 million individuals in South Africa, noting that it’s now the dominant variant circulating within the nation. “The nearly vertical inflection of this clearly argues in direction of a excessive diploma of transmissibility, he mentioned.
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