Americans need to be prepared to do “anything and everything” to fight the omicron Covid variant, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told viewers on Weekend TODAY on Dec 27 that it was possible the Omicron variant is already in the United States.
"I would not be surprised if it is. We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility… it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over," Fauci said.
While the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has not yet been detected in the United States, it will "inevitably" arrive. “Inevitably, it will be here. The question is will we be prepared for it?”, Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "This Week" on Dec 28.
Pressed by the anchor on whether the Omicron variant is as or more transmissible than the Delta variant and other mutations that have swept the globe, Fauci said, "It appears to be."
The chief medical adviser said early signs "strongly suggest" that the variant may be more transmissible and might evade protections from monoclonal antibodies and "perhaps even antibodies that are induced by vaccine."
In South Africa, cases of new COVID-19 infections have been heavily weighted toward the omicron variant, Fauci said, so, "you have to presume that it has a good degree of transmissibility advantage."
However, Fauci noted that a relatively small proportion of the population of South Africa is vaccinated. According to Johns Hopkins University, just over 24% of people in South Africa is fully vaccinated, compared to 60% of the U.S. population.
"So, you've got to take that into the equation when you're trying to figure out where this virus is really going and what its impact is going to be," Fauci said.
Asked by Stephanopoulos if Omicron causes more severe disease, Fauci said that currently remains a mystery.
He said U.S. scientists spoke to their counterparts in South Africa on Friday and plan to meet with them again later on Dec 28 "to try and find out if the cases they have identified that clearly are caused by this variant, what is the level of severity in that."
The chief medical adviser said the best way for Americans to prepare for the Omicron variant is to be vaccinated, to get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible, and to keep adhering to other protective recommendations such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
When Stephanopoulos broached the possibility of returning to the lockdowns due to the new variant, Fauci said it's "really too early to say."
He added, "Let's see what the information that we're getting in real-time tells us, and we'll make decisions based on the science and the evidence, the way we always do."
综合来源：CNBC, ABC, TODAY, 观察者网