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Fauci says omicron variant will ‘inevitably’ hit US

Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the omicron COVID-19 variant will “inevitably” hit the United States, noting that it has already been detected in several other countries.

During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Fauci if the newly detected variant had been detected by officials in the U.S.

“No, we have not, George, and we have a pretty good surveillance system. But, as we all know, when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here,” Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, answered.

Fauci also argued during the interview that travel restrictions imposed by the Biden administration and other countries could buy nations time to better respond to omicron, which the World Health Organization called a “variant of concern” last week.

“Travel bans, when you have a highly transmissible virus, never completely would … prevent it from coming into the country. No way that’s going to happen,” Fauci said.

“But what you can do is you can delay it enough to get us better prepared. And that’s the thing that people need to understand. If you’re going to do the travel ban the way we’ve done now and that we’re implementing right now, utilize the time that you’re buying to fill in the gaps,” he added.

The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that it will take weeks for scientists to understand how effective COVID-19 vaccines are at protecting against the new variant.

“So if you’ve raised antibodies against [COVID-19] from previously being infected or from being vaccinated, the question is, will those antibodies still stick to this version of the spike protein, or will they evade that protection? We need to find that out, to be honest, though that’s gonna take two, three weeks in both laboratory and field studies to figure out the answer. And that’s what all of us as scientists want to know,” Collins said.

Updated at 10:42 a.m. 

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci COVID-19 George Stephanopoulos Joe Biden omicron Sunday shows Variant

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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