The new COVID-19 variant, called omicron, is bringing along with it new risks for the American people as President Joe Biden and his administration try to control the spread of the coronavirus that he promise to “shut down” during his campaign in 2020.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, the omicron variant has undergone a large number of mutations, and some of those were said to be concerning.
Because of this, the president restricted travel from South Africa and 7 other nations on Friday over concerns of this “heavily mutated” variant. The omicron has been identified in the countries of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Earlier this week, before the travel ban was implemented, Ron Klain, the White House Chief of Staff, boastfully acknowledged the way Biden is handling the pandemic, challenging anyone who wants to debate about COVID-19 to “bring it on.“
He said that when Biden became president, 4,000 people were dying daily and only 1% of Americans got the vaccine. Klain then added that now, the mortality figures are down by 75% and around 200 million Americans have reached fully vaccinated status. Nevertheless, he said that they still have “a LOT of work to do.”
Let's be clear: the day we got here, 4000 people a day were dying and 1% of Americans were vaccinated. Today, deaths are down 75%, and almost 200m Americans are fully vax'ed. We still have a LOT of work to do. But if anyone wants to have a debate about COVID, bring it on. https://t.co/nuYcwNhFus
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) November 24, 2021
On the other hand, the president said he is following the advice on how to deal with the new omicron variant from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also recommended for travel to be restricted.
Biden was previously highly critical of former President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions because of COVID-19 concerns. He even said back then that the U.S. “should lead the way with science,” insisting travel bans in the middle of a worldwide pandemic are xenophobic.
We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 1, 2020
The current president’s failure to “shut down” the virus has resulted in pandemic fatigue. White House press secretary Jen Psaki attributed this to Biden’s abysmal approval ratings. According to Psaki, the American people are “tired of fighting” back against COVID-19 and the way it affects their lives.
Omicron Already in the U.S.?
On Saturday morning, Fauci said that he wouldn’t be shocked to find out that the omicron variant is already in the U.S. He also said that the newly discovered strain has many mutations that would imply it could likely bypass immune protection. He also said that many scientists predict that it will be more transmissible.
Several pharmaceutical firms, such as Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Novavax, have announced their plans to adapt their vaccines following the emergence of the omicron variant.
A White House official on Saturday issued a statement to Fox News. The official said that Biden has been informed about omicron and that both senior health officials and the COVID-19 response team have been observing and monitoring the latest updates on the new variant while being in touch with other health officials around the world regularly.
Additionally, the White House is still urging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots that would help stop the emergence of new variants.