The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is now, after just a few short weeks in America, the dominant form of the virus, and it’s spreading more rapidly than anything we’ve seen. And while everyone from President Biden to President Trump has gotten their booster shot, there are still 50 million Americans who remain unvaccinated. Without mass immunity, we are at risk. How can you stay safe, given the surge? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the Today Show this morning with advice, and a warning about Omicron. Read on for 5 life-saving points—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Fauci Warned Omicron Spreads Faster Than Anything We’ve Seen
Omicron is way more transmissible than any other COVID strain but also possibly causes less severe illness, especially in vaccinated people who have had their boosters. Yet NHL games have been paused, mask mandates are coming back to Washington DC—Dr. Fauci was asked if this was an overreaction. “Oh, it’s by no means an overreaction,” he said. “You’re dealing with a virus that has an unprecedented capability of spreading extremely rapidly. We’ve really not seen anything like this before. It has a double time of about two days. It went from around 13% up to now 73%. The idea that it can spread so rapidly, even if in fact it is somewhat less severe—and it appears at least from the South African data, that there is less of a ratio of hospitalization to cases and duration of stay in the hospital, so it very well may be less severe, we’re hoping that that’s the case, and we’re hoping as this evolves here in the United States, that that will be our experience. But even if it is, the quantity of infections, given the extraordinary efficiency of spread, might actually obviate that diminution in severity to the point where you still get a lot of significant disease. So we cannot take this lightly at all.”
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Dr. Fauci Said Here’s How to Stay Safe This Holiday Season
“If folks can’t get a test before this weekend, should they skip the test or should they skip, uh, visiting their loved ones over the holiday?” asked host Craig Melvin. “Well, first of all, if you are vaccinated, particularly boosted and you are going to be in an indoor home setting with family relatives who are also vaccinated and boosted, you could feel comfortable in doing that social interaction,” said Dr. Fauci. “If tests are available by all means, go the extra step, go the extra mile to get testing, which we are recommending just to get that extra added cushion of alleviation of concern. But if you don’t have the availability of the test, then you are fully vaccinated and boosted. You should feel comfortable having a holiday meal or gathering with family members who are also vaccinated and boosted.”
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Dr. Fauci Said Here’s What to Do if You’re Visiting Children Who are Too Young to be Vaccinated
“Well, what you do is that the best way to protect children who are not yet at the age that they can be vaccinated is to surround them with people who are vaccinated. You protect yourself and you protect your unvaccinated children by making sure that they are in an environment with vaccinated people.”
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Dr. Fauci Said This is the “Endgame”
How and when will this pandemic ever end? Will it? What’s the endgame? “Well, one of the ways we can get it stopped is to get a lot more people vaccinated,” said Dr. Fauci. “It’s very unfortunate that we still have about 50 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not gotten vaccinated. It will stop when we get the overwhelming majority of people get vaccinated and boosted. And when the people who don’t get vaccinated—ultimately this virus is gonna find them. They will get infected and many of them will suffer and get hospitalized and some will die when you get to that point where you, people either having already been infected or vaccinated and boosted, you will see a diminution in this surge that we see right now, which certainly is very, very troubling. Yeah. But hopefully we’ll get over that as quickly as it came upon us.”
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How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.