President Biden discusses US response to new COVID-19 variant
President Joe Biden is scheduled to make remarks on the nation's response to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, which has already halted travel in some countries as the world rushes to learn more about its spread.
but we took action and now we're seeing deaths and delta come down. We'll fight the you know and look we're going to fight and beat this new variant as well. We're learning more about this new variant every single day. And as we learn more we're going to share that information with american people candidly and promptly second. The best protection. I know you're tired to hear me say this. The best protection against this new variant or any of the of the variants out there. But once we've been dealing with already is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot. Most Americans are fully vaccinated but not yet boosted. If you're 18 years are over and got fully vaccinated before june the first go get the booster shot today they're free And they're available at 80,000 locations. Coast to coast. A fully vaccinated booster person is the most protected against covid. Do not wait go get your booster. If it's time for you to do so. And if you are not vaccinated now is the time to get vaccinated and take your Children to be vaccinated. Every child age five or older can get safe effective vaccines. Now while it will be a few weeks before we know everything we need to know about how strongly the existing vaccines protect against new variants. Dr Fauci is with me today of our medical team and I believe that the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease. And as additional protections please wear your mask when you're indoors in public settings around other people. It protects you. It protects those around you third in the event. Hopefully unlikely that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant. We will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool. I want to reiterate Dr Fauci believes that the current vaccines provide at least some protection against the new variant and the booster strengthen that protection significantly. We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed but so that we are prepared if needed. My team is already working with officials at fighter in modern and johnson and johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed. And 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. And we'll do that the same way. Any modifications are needed or current treatments need to use to help those with who get ill with the covid virus. Look, I'm I'm sparing no effort and removing all roadblocks to keep the american people safe. All of this is confusing to a lot of people. But if it's confusing to do let me close with this simple message if you are vaccinated but still worried about the new varia, get your booster if you aren't vaccinated. Get that shot, go get that first shot. My team at the White House, provide me with daily updates this week on thursday I'll be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we're going to fight Covid this winter. Not with shutdowns are locked down but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters testing and more. I promised every american that there will be always be the latest vaccines available and the booster shots available them and for free and everywhere available. Every single american free of charge. And I will keep that commitment. But we need to do more than vaccinated americans to beat the pandemic. We have to vaccinate the world as well. And America's leading that effort. We've shipped for free more vaccines to other countries than all other countries in the world. Combined Over 275 million vaccines to 110 countries. Now we need the rest of the world to step up as well. Let me be clear not a single vaccine shot. Americans ever sent to the rest of the world will ever come at the expense of any american. I will always make sure that our people are protected first. But vaccinating the world is just one more tool and how we need to meet our moral obligation as americans and how to best protect America's as well. But delta variants and now the omni crime variant all emerged elsewhere in the world so we can't let up until the world is vaccinated. We're protecting americans by doing that as well as we continue this effort and let's remember where we stand. We're in a very different place. as we enter the month of december this month compared to where we were last last september last christmas, Last Christmas, fewer than 1% of American adults were vaccinated. This Christmas, the number will be over 71%,, Including more than 86% of seniors. Last christmas our Children were at risk without a vaccine. This Christmas we have safe and effective vaccines for Children ages five and older With more than 19 million Children and counting now vaccinated Last year a majority of schools were closed this year, 99% of our schools are open. Let me really right once more. We also now have booster shots to provide extra protection. They're free and convenient. There's still time to get your first two shots or your booster shot or get your Children vaccinated before christmas. All three are available can be done before christmas. If you and your family are fully vaccinated, you can celebrate the holidays much more safely and give them where we were last year. That's a blessing that none of us should take for granted. We're throwing everything we can at this virus tracking it from every angle and that's what we have to keep doing. That's how we reopened our country. That's how we reopen our businesses. That's how we reopen our schools. That's how even with the pandemic, we've generated a record job creation, a record economic growth in this country. We've moved forward in the face of COVID-19. We have moved forward in the face of the delta. Very And we move forward now in the face of omni chrome variant as well. So thank you. God bless our troops And I hope you all have. I'll be speaking before them. But a merry christmas as we approach it, questions should let me call on nancy Bloomberg. Thank you so much. President biden. Do you think that other countries will be reluctant to report variants or other strains given the travel ban that you put so quickly on South Africa? No, I I don't think so. I don't think that's what's going to happen. And I want to again the reason for the media travel ban, Is there a significant number of cases unlike any other country? While the few around South Africa in the world, we needed time to give people an opportunity to say get that vaccination now before it has, it's going to move around the world. I think it's almost inevitable. There will be at some point that that strain here in the United States. Um, but I don't, I don't think anyone is going to be reluctant to report. We have also moved to do more. For example, we've provided more vaccines. As I said then all other countries in the world combined. And we've brought a significant vaccines as well to South Africa in that region. A matter of fact, South Africa doesn't need any more vaccine. They're having trouble getting it out in the people's arms and the reluctance is there. But no I don't think it's going to have that effect. I may call on Alexis Alexis, Alex Alex Alex Reuters. Yes, thank you so much. Mr President. I wanted to ask if the U. S. Is doing anything to screen international travels for this variant And what is being done? If anything internally to see if the virus this variant has already arrived? Well, there's a lot being done. I'm gonna turn to dr Fauci to answer the last question about what's being done. Duck. Thank you. Mr President. We already have in place when people come into the United States, they have to be tested before they get on and they have to show vaccination uh documentation. So even before Omni came in we have a situation where we'll be able to test and talking about testing fortunately for us, the PcR is that we mostly use would pick up this very unusual variant that has a real large constellation of mutations fortunately for us that the PcR is that we do do pick it up and uh we're following extremely closely the medical community, the code team. Uh any developments as it relates to how severe it is, how quickly you to how quickly it spreads, how dangerous is etcetera we have more work to do in that area and uh Wall Street Journal. Thank you. Mr President, uh the UK europe and a growing number of countries have confirmed cases of omicron, Are you considering additional travel restrictions on countries where the variant has been detected? And just separately, you urged americans to wear masks in indoor public spaces. But many states and cities including Washington D. C, have lifted mask mandates. Are you calling on state and local officials to reinstate mask mandates with regard to the last question? The answer is I encourage everyone to wear a mask when they're indoors in a crowded circumstances like we are right now, um and unless you're eating or speaking at the microphone. And secondly, uh the degree the spread impacts on whether or not there's a need for any travel restriction, but that's not. I don't anticipate that at this point. And we'll see, we'll see how that works. And so the other Alex doesn't have a heart attack. I want to call on him. Is it that Mr President? Okay, let me ask the other Alex. And then Mr President, is this the new normal that americans should expect? Anticipating future potential variance? Should we expect intermittent travel restrictions and potential drops in the stock market going forward? Do you have any words of reassurance that this won't become the new normal and then for both you and dr Fauci dr Fauci said earlier on cbs that uh lockdown shutdowns are off off the table for restraining? Covid going forward? You said that won't be part of your plan on thursday, but why is that? Why are you taking that off the table? We'll answer your first question first. The answer is I expect this not to be the new normal, I expect the new normal and to be everyone ends up getting vaccinated in the booster shots. So we reduce the number of people who aren't protected to such a low degree that we're not seeing the spread of these viruses now we remain to be seen exactly what the elements of this particular strain are. But if as I hope then it's not going to be fundamentally different than in the past. Um And uh in terms of what was the question, our lockdown is off the table. Yes, yes. Why is that? Well, because we're able to, if people are vaccinated and where they're masked, there's no need for lockdown. So my last question going on from that question, we've got the christmas period coming up a huge amount of travel. Um would you give any thought to domestic flights requiring test or vaccine for people get on planes in the same way as they do for international flights? At this point, that's not been recommended. I would rate for my scientific community to give me a recommendation on that travel restrictions too late to be effective sir. Given that dr Fauci says this new area could already be here. You understand the point of the travelers of the restriction to give us time to get people to get protection to be vaccinated and get the booster. That's the reason for it. Thank you all so very, very much. I appreciate it, thank you and I'm sure I'll see you between now and christmas, but I hope you have a good thanksgiving.