Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and other members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team on developments relating to the COVID-19 variant of Omicron in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, USA, December 9, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters
The U.S. is seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant as the nation battles a growing outbreak of Delta infection, said White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Friday.
“We are now facing a very important delta rise and are looking over our shoulder at an impending omicron rise,” Fauci told Covid during a White House briefing. “Clearly unvaccinated people … are really at high risk of serious involvement, including hospitalization.”
The seven-day average of new hospital admissions for Covid rose 4% from the previous week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control.
Fauci said on Thursday that in a few weeks’ time Omicron will become the dominant variant of Covid in the US, and Walensky reiterated that prediction in the briefing on Friday.
Health officials urged unvaccinated people to get their vaccinations, and people who are already fully vaccinated should be given a booster as soon as they are eligible, six months after completing their two-dose series from Pfizer or Moderna and two months after one Injection from Johnson & Johnson.
Fully vaccinated people will be much better off than people without vaccinations, but “the best protection is full vaccination plus an upgrade,” Fauci said.
Fauci told CNBC earlier on Friday that regulators are ready to reconsider defining full vaccination against Covid if cases increase.
The Delta variant comprised around 97% of all Covid cases analyzed last week through December 11, while Omicron accounted for an estimated 2.9% of all cases, according to the CDC.
Omicron accounts for a higher percentage of cases in certain areas of the country. In the New York and New Jersey area, 13.1% of all cases last week were omicrons.