US Vice President Kamala Harris admits Biden admin ‘failed to see Omicron variant coming’

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 18, 2021, 04:34 PM(IST)

Harris said that despite relying on scientists and experts, the US government could not foresee and prepare to tackle the virus. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Harris added that despite relying on scientists and experts, the US government could not foresee and prepare to tackle the virus

US Vice President Kamala Harris has acknowledged that the Biden administration couldn’t anticipate the emergence of variants like Omicron and Delta.

Speaking to Los Angeles Times newspaper on the Covid situation in the country, Harris on Friday said, “We didn't see Delta coming…We didn't see Omicron coming. And that's the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

Harris added that despite relying on scientists and experts, the US government could not foresee and prepare to tackle the virus.

“I think most scientists did not - upon whose advice and direction we have relied —didn't see Delta coming,” she said.

The comment from Harris comes as New York City reported 21,027 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Friday, the highest the state has ever recorded.

President Joe Biden has warned of a “winter of severe illness and death” for the unvaccinated, as the Omicron variant fuels new cases in the United States.

Also read | No evidence to suggest new variant Omicron less severe than Delta, reveals UK study

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that COVID-19 cases and deaths will increase in the US over the next month, with its latest model projecting more than 40,000 deaths by January 8.

Scientists have remained uncertain as to how dangerous the highly mutated Omicron variant is, but early data suggests it can be more resistant to vaccines and is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

Also read | Amid threat of Omicron wave, Americans rush to get COVID-19 boosters

The warning particularly holds true for the United Kingdon, which has been reporting a record number of cases in the past three days.

More than 88,000 Covid-19 infections were detected on Friday in a second consecutive record daily number in a country where over 69% of its population is fully vaccinated.

(With inputs from agencies)

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