Dr. Anthony Fauci takes part in 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 related to the Omicron COVID-19 variant from the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters
A surge of Covid-19 cases caused by the omicron variant is coming in the U.S. even as the nation battles a growing outbreak of delta infections, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
“We are now facing a very important delta surge and we are looking over our shoulder at an oncoming omicron surge,” Fauci said during a White House briefing on Covid. “Clearly unvaccinated individuals … are really at a high risk of serious involvement, including hospitalization.”
The seven-day average of new hospital admissions for Covid jumped 4% from the prior week, Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Fauci on Thursday said omicron will become the dominant Covid variant in the U.S. in a few weeks, and Walensky echoed that projection in Friday’s briefing.
The health officials urged unvaccinated individuals to get their shots and for people who already are fully vaccinated to get boosted as soon as they are eligible, six months after completing their two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna and two months following one shot of Johnson & Johnson.
Fully vaccinated people will be much better off than those without any shots, but “the optimum protection is fully vaccinated, plus a boost,” Fauci said.
Fauci told CNBC earlier Friday that regulators are open to reconsidering the definition of full vaccination against Covid as cases rise.
The delta variant comprised about 97% of all Covid cases analyzed last week ending Dec. 11, while omicron represented an estimated 2.9% of all cases, according to the CDC.
Omicron makes up a higher proportion of cases in certain areas of the country. In the New York and New Jersey region, 13.1% of all cases last week were omicron.