President Joe Biden tried to assure Americans on Monday that the fight against the newest variant of the coronavirus would not include “shutdowns or lockdowns.”
Biden made the comments during a televised address from the White House.
“On Thursday, I’ll be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we’re gonna fight COVID this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more,” said Biden.
Biden said that current vaccines appeared to give some protection against the new variant, but added that the administration would push for new boosters if it appeared that they would be needed against the new variant.
“I will also direct the FDA and the CDC to use the fastest process available without cutting any corners for safety to get such vaccines approved and on the market if needed,” he added.
A new variant designated the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa, prompting the Biden administration to issue an emergency restriction on plane travel from some African countries. Cases of the variant have since been detected in Canada, in Europe, and in Australia.
The stock market also reacted very negatively to worries about the Omicron virus on Friday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 900 points, about 2% of its value, and the S&P 500 dropped by more than 100 points, or 2.3% of its value.
Markets recouped some of that loss on Monday when the stock market resumed trading.
Also on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned against rushing to judgement about the Omicron variant.
“Right now it does not look like there’s a big signal of a high degree of severity, but it’s too early to tell,” said Fauci to Jake Tapper on CNN.
“We really need to wait for them to give us the information,” he added, referring to health officials in South Africa. “They have been extremely cooperative and collaborative and transparent with us about what is going on there. Very helpful.”
Here’s the video of Biden’s comments:
Biden Says Country Will Fight Omicron With Vaccines And Boosters