Biden says omicron variant is cause for concern but not panic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — President Biden said Monday that while travel restrictions imposed on travelers from several southern African nations would slow the entry of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, “it cannot prevent it.”

President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Nov. 22, 2021.
Biden will urge Americans to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot as he seeks to quell concerns Monday over the new COVID-19 variant omicron, but won’t immediately push for more restrictions to stop its spread. [AP Photo | Susan Walsh, File]
“Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases,” he said in an address to the American people.

Biden added: “This variant is a cause for concern — not a cause for panic.”

He reiterated his plea for American to get vaccinated as a way to protect themselves against COVID.

“The best protection against this variant or any of the variants out there is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” he said.

Biden said scientists didn’t think that extra measures would be needed to fight the new variant, but added his administration was working with vaccine manufacturers to develop vaccines or boosters against omicron if needed.

The president’s remarks come the same day his administration’s new travel restrictions in response to the omicron variant went into effect.

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