Omicron: US President warns of winter with 'severe illness and death'

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Dec 17, 2021, 07:56 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden addresses a press conference in Washington Photograph:( AFP )

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Infections have grown by 40% across the country in the last two weeks, and deaths have soared by more than a third, with more than 1,300 Americans dying every day from the coronavirus.

As coronavirus cases rise across the country, US President Biden warned of winter of "serious illness and death" for unvaccinated Americans.

At a meeting with medical experts and Vice President Harris to discuss the pandemic, Biden claimed the country was in a better position to deal with the omicron version of COVID-19 because of actions taken to limit travel and expand access to boosters during a meeting. 

"For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death... for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm," Biden continued.

"But there's good news. If you're vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death, period."

"It’s past time" to get shots, the president said Thursday following a briefing with his coronavirus team at the White House. 

We’re going to protect our economic recovery if we do this. We’re going to keep our schools and businesses open if we do this.

Infections have grown by 40% across the country in the last two weeks, and deaths have soared by more than a third, with more than 1,300 Americans dying every day from the coronavirus.

Watch | Omicron spreading faster than any other variant: WHO

As the number of cases has increased, some colleges have already declared a switch to online classes, while professional sports leagues and Broadway theatres have cancelled games and performances. 

Biden stressed the need for booster vaccinations in preventing serious diseases.

Nearly 57 million Americans have had their immune systems strengthened, which doctors say is one approach to protect against serious sickness regardless of the variations.

Boosters, according to Biden, would help keep the economy and schools open. 

Also read | Omicron variant could cause 75,000 deaths in England by April, 2022: Experts

Biden's top medical adviser on the pandemic, Anthony Fauci, said earlier Thursday that the omicron form will likely be prevalent in the United States in "a few weeks" and warned of hospital overcrowding this winter.

People who have been vaccinated, especially those who have had their booster injections, would be "pretty well protected, at least against serious sickness," he said, adding that he is most concerned about those who have not been vaccinated.

(With inputs from agencies)

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