US President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Czar has told Americans to avoid big New Year’s Eve parties — and prepare for another round of booster shots and endless testing.
from Sputnik News:
The Biden administration cut coronavirus quarantine times from 10 to five days earlier this week, as soaring case numbers of the new Omicron strain threatened to cause a massive labour shortage across the US.
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Speaking at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci poured cold water on the end-of-year party season.
“If your plans are to go to a 40 to 50-person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing,” he said. “I would strongly recommend that this year, we do not do that.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — a Democrat like Biden — was yet to get the message through, as the traditional January 31 midnight ball drop celebration in Times Square is set to go ahead with 15,000 revellers attending.
“Before we start talking about a fourth shot, it would be very important for us to determine the durability of protection, particularly against severe disease for the third shot booster of an mRNA [vaccine] and the second shot of a [Johnson & Johnson],” Fauci said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose vaccine, as opposed to most others which require a second jab to reach full effectiveness.
“It is conceivable that in the future, we might need an additional shot but right now, we are hoping that we will get a greater degree of durability of protection from that booster shot,” he added. “So we’re going to take one step at a time, get the data from the third boost and then make decisions based on scientific data.”
Fauci predicted that monitoring for the virus
“We’re never going to stop counting, tests — but we’re looking forward, as everyone I think feels is appropriate, that ultimately we’re going to have to live with something that will not be eradicated and very likely would not be eliminated,” he said.
The chief medical advisor has been one of the strongest proponents of mask-wearing, lockdowns and other restrictions since the start of the pandemic in 2019.
But on Wednesday Fauci changed tack on re-imposing mask mandates for domestic airline flights, a move he suggested earlier in the week.
“At this particular time, we do not feel that it’s necessary to make that a requirement for domestic flights,” he said. “Right now we feel that the masking requirements and the degree of filtration on a plane are sufficient to keep people safe.”
And he conceded that Omicron was a milder variant than those previously dominant.