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The White House Covid team told the American public that
“there is no need to lock” the country
amid the spread of the Omicron variant, but that getting vaccinated and taking boosters is essential.

Sandra Lindsay greets spectators last July as she led the marchers through lower Manhattan in a parade honoring workers essential for their efforts to bring the Covid-19 pandemic through New York City. She was the first American officially vaccinated after the first Covid vaccine received the green light from US regulators a year ago. Photograph: John Minchillo / AP

Jeff Zients, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky both noted during the briefing earlier how the government and the public have “a lot more tools” to fight against Covid that everyone had a year ago.

For a year that the first person in the United States was officially vaccinated after the first vaccine received an emergency use authorization by the federal regulator in the wake of successful tests – when a unit nurse New York City Intensive Care Officer Sandra Lindsay was vaccinated. By this point, 300,000 people in the United States had already been killed by Covid, a figure that has now risen to 800,000.

Zients said that 95% of Americans are eligible to be vaccinated and that this should be the way that everyone chooses to protect against the virus.

“We know how to keep our kids in school and businesses open and we’re not going to shut down our economy in any way,” he said.

A reporter at the press conference asked how worried a tired audience should be, in the general sense, about the pandemic, a winter flare-up and Omicron, given data that it is spreading rapidly but may be softer than the Delta strain.

The president’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, put it bluntly.

“If you are not vaccinated, you are very vulnerable, not only to the surge Delta we are currently experiencing, but also Omicron”, he said.

About the first reports on the effects of Omicron softer than previous strains, Fauci said that if you are not vaccinated, it does not matter, you are vulnerable.

He added that it was difficult to “read the tea leaves”, but that the public should do what the authorities continue to say, in particular using the tools of vaccination and booster, as well as using a mask inside with the crowd. Fauci said last week he wears a mask indoors if he meets with people whose immunization status he does not know.

“If we didn’t have these tools, I would tell you to be really, really worried. So get yourself vaccinated, get boosted … we take this very seriously, ”he said.

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