With hospitalizations rising around the country, the Biden-Harris administration are working with medical experts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to blunt the impact of the new Omicron variant.
Broadway shows are shuttering, some professional sports teams again are playing without fans in attendance, and some nations are enacting travel bans.
“I want to send a direct message to the American people: Due to the steps we’ve taken, Omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would’ve otherwise done and as is happening in Europe,” President Biden asserted.
“But it’s here now, and it’s spreading, and it’s going to increase,” he insisted.
Experts at the University of Minnesota’s Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy issued a warning that millions of Americans might suffer infections over the holidays because of the Omicron variant.
The National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens announced the team’s upcoming games will take place without fans, and the NFL and NBA have reported uptick in COVID-related player issues.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said the omicron variant has been found among cases throughout the league.
The NBA’s Chicago Bulls canceled two games this week because of an outbreak among personnel in the Windy City.
Some colleges and universities have returned to online learning, and some grade schools have resorted to hybrid models.
“For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death – if you’re unvaccinated – for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm,” President Biden declared in a statement late Thursday.
He said those fully vaccinated – including booster shots – are protected from severe illness and death.
The President proclaimed that “booster shots work.”
“They are free, safe, and convenient,” the President said.
About 60 million people have received booster shots, and the White House continues to urge all to protect themselves.
“It’s time. It’s past time,” President Biden remarked.
“And we’re going to protect our economic recovery if we do this. We’re going to keep schools and businesses open if we do this. And I want to see everyone around enjoy that. I want to see them enjoy the fact that they’re able to be in school, that businesses are open, and the holidays are coming.
So, get your booster shot. It’s critically important.”
“Omicron is here, it’s going to start to spread much more rapidly in the beginning of the year, and the only real protection is to get your shots. If you get one shot – if you haven’t gotten it yet – it’ll help. If you’re at a point where you have everything, including your booster, you’re in really good shape.”