Joe Biden ignores questions on coronavirus
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The US President and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team to discuss the latest Omicron developments. It comes as the US confirmed 1,080,211 further coronavirus cases on Monday.
The staggering jump is a global daily record, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Mr Biden and Ms Harris will meet the White House COVID-19 Response Team – which includes top US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci – at 2pm local time (7pm UK time).
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki is due to give a press briefing at 2.30pm local time (7.30pm UK time).
Dr Fauci has said the country is facing “almost a vertical increase” in cases.
He added that the peak could be weeks away.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Dr Fauci warned there was still a danger of a surge in hospitalisations due to a large number of cases despite studies suggesting Omicron is milder than the Delta variant.
He said: “The only difficulty is that if you have so many cases, even if the rate of hospitalization is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there is still the danger that you will have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system.”
Dr Fauci added: “There will certainly be a lot more cases because this is a much more transmissible virus than Delta is.
“It looks, in fact, that it might be less severe, at least from data that we’ve gathered from South Africa, from the UK and even some from preliminary data from here in the United States.”
It comes after US health experts last week warned Americans to prepare for severe disruption in the coming weeks as Omicron drives a huge wave of Covid cases.
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Dr Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told MSNBC: “We are going to see the number of cases in this country rise so dramatically, we are going to have a hard time keeping everyday life operating.
“The next month is going to be a viral blizzard.
“All of society is going to be pressured by this.”
Speaking to CNN, Dr Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine, said: “We have to be really careful about being too dismissive of Omicron.”
It comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines shortening the isolation period for asymptomatic people.
The period has been slashed from 10 days to five in a bid to reduce disruption caused by staff shortages amid a surge in cases.
However, the move has been criticised by some disease experts and health care workers.
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