A new COVID-19 strain, omicron, has emerged and is spreading in the United States. However, neither the American authorities nor the doctors panic, noting that the current symptoms of the identified cases indicate that the virus does not pose a threat to the lives of patients. Moreover, the new plan to counter the new strain, which was presented by US President Joe Biden, also does not contain extraordinary steps. Attending Thursday’s lighting ceremony at Washington’s main Christmas tree, the American leader hinted that a light may be dawning on overcoming the pandemic.
On Wednesday evening and Thursday, the United States authorities officially confirmed the presence in the United States of a new variant of COVID-19 – the omicron. The first person to be infected with the strain was found in California, with confirmed cases reported Thursday by Minnesota, Colorado and New York, where at least five have been identified. In New York, all those infected to date are in a home hospital and do not need hospitalization, New York State Governor Katie Hawkul said during the conference.
While the governor stressed that there is still little information to draw definitive conclusions, current evidence suggests that the virus does not pose a great danger to those who are sick. “We want people to know that these cases are not life threatening. They are insignificant (in terms of symptoms. – “B”). And this is a source of good news for us right now, ”said Ms. Hockul.
The discovery of a new virus strain in America almost coincided with the announcement by Joe Biden of a plan to combat the spread of the omicron.
None of these steps are intended to increase mandatory vaccination requirements or new restrictions on international travel. By the way, a few days ago a federal judge blocked the requirement for mandatory vaccinations of medical workers in ten states, Axios reported.
Perhaps the more lenient steps by the administration were influenced by this court decision, as well as the opinion of experts that tightening requirements for mandatory vaccinations could lead to a shortage of staff in American hospitals. “My current federal vaccination requirements are being reviewed in courts, this plan does not expand or supplement those requirements – this is a plan around which I hope all Americans can rally,” the president said Thursday, whose speech was broadcast on the White House website.
The plan to counter the new strain (it was distributed by the press service of the White House) consists of six points. The first concerns receiving a booster vaccine… All American adults should be boosted six months after the main vaccination (or two months after being vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson), Biden said. He noted that at the moment the majority of US citizens subject to revaccination have not done so.
In this regard, America is launching a “nationwide booster campaign,” the task of which will be to disseminate relevant information.
For example, pharmacies will send out millions of letters to remind their customers to get boosted.
Administration officials will also contact more than 60 million people with Medicare (the public health insurance program for people over 65) about this. In addition, assistance will be provided for the delivery of pensioners to the site of revaccination. The American authorities intend to allocate more than 100 million doses for revaccination.
The second area of work – efforts to vaccinate children aged five and over… Mass vaccination sites for adults will be expanded with hundreds of more comfortable vaccination sites for entire families. Mr Biden called the move critical to keep schools open and not quarantined.
Next step – distribution of free home tests… Now, according to Mr. Biden, there are at least eight home testing options available in the United States. Also planned increase the number of rapid response medical teams in places where the highest number of infections are found. The plans of the administration and increasing the availability of new drugs, “Including drugs for the treatment of monoclonal antibodies, which have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization.” And finally, the sixth point – providing vaccines to countries where they are in short supply.
According to the American president, as a result of the efforts of his administration, the United States is entering this winter stronger, “compared to where America was last winter.”
According to the head of the White House, only about 1% of American adults were vaccinated last winter. By Christmas (December 25), the figure will reach 77-72%, which includes vaccinations for 86% of older people most vulnerable to the virus.
It is symbolic that on the same day Joe Biden took part in the ceremony of lighting the lights on the main Christmas tree in the American capital. Speaking there, he noted:
“An evergreen tree reminds us that even on the coldest and darkest winter days, life and abundance will return.”
Mr. Biden went on to say that the coming holiday speaks of “seeking light in darkness, which is perhaps the most American thing to do — seeking light.”
Many medical experts believe that a ray of hope has really dawned on the pandemic and there is nothing supernatural here. As Barry Mennan, the owner of his own medical practice, an emergency doctor certified in several American states, told Kommersant, today the data received from South Africa on the omicron indicate that the symptoms of the disease are declining. According to him, “the law of evolution is such that viruses usually mutate into less virulent or less deadly, albeit more infectious forms.” The American expert adds: there is serious scientific evidence (in particular, from Yale University), which indicates that the pandemic is in its final stages. And soon, perhaps, the virus will become no more dangerous than the usual seasonal cold.