Washington urges more vaccinations, booster shots to stem 'raging' Omicron

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The Omicron variant of coronavirus is raging through the world, and as we are entering the holiday season the importance of vaccination and booster shots has become more important than ever for those that intend to travel, said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,  on Sunday.
omikron koronavírus tüskefehérje

Omicron has been found in 43 out of 50 US states and around 90 countries so far, including Hungary, Reuters reported.

The number of cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.

It is just, you know, raging through the world,

Fauci said on NBC's Meet the Press.

In certain regions of the United States, 50% of the COVID-19 tests genetically sequenced detected the Omicron variant, Fauci told CNN, "which means it's going to take over". The number of hospitalised Covid patients jumped 26%.

Fauci urged Americans to continue wearing masks and get a vaccine booster dose. He added the new variant of concern has the extraordinary capability of spreading, adding that the United States is going to see breakthrough infections.

We are going to see breakthrough infection - there is no doubt about that,

the top immunologist said.

Fauci urged people to get vaccinated and get their booster dose, saying that those they “will be relatively well protected at least against severe disease.”

"We really need to flood the system with testing. We need to have tests available for anyone who wants them," he said.

Hospitals in some parts of the country are already becoming strained by COVID-19 patients and things are likely to get worse, the health officials said.

Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CBS' Face the Nation that the number of Omicron cases will rise steeply in the next two weeks.

"A big message for today is if you've had vaccines and a booster, you're very well protected against Omicron causing you severe disease. So, anybody listening to this who's in that 60% of Americans who are eligible for a booster but haven't yet gotten one:

This is the week to do it. Do not wait,

he said.

Neither Fauci nor Collins urged vaccinated Americans to cancel travel plans - just to wear a mask at all times in airports, on planes, trains and buses.

"I'm not going to say you shouldn't travel, but you should do so very carefully," Collins said.

Cover photo: Getty Images.

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