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- American immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
A new coronavirus variant—called Omicron—was first detected in South Africa and is now spreading quickly, as countries in Europe and the USA implement travel bans to buy us some time to figure out what it does and why. What happens when the new mutation spreads? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CBS Mornings a few hours ago. Read on for five life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Dr. Fauci Said Here's Why He's Concerned
Regarding the dangers of Omicron, "it's going to take a little bit, maybe a couple of weeks to get a real good handle on it. The thing that we do know that is concerning is that there has been this identification in South Africa. And it is having a degree of what we call mutations around that part of the virus we call the spike protein that is responsible for the binding of the virus to cells in your body, which suggests that this would be more transmissible and also suggest that it might evade some of the immune parameters that we have such as monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma, as well as perhaps antibodies that are induced by vaccines. When you look at it clinically, it appears from what we're observing with our South African colleagues, who've been extremely cooperative and helpful to us to understand this. It appears to be spreading very readily in that it has a transmission advantage. The things that we don't know right now is whether the people who do get infected have a severe form of disease, or whether it's a light disease or somewhat the same as Delta."
Dr. Fauci Said This About Hunkering Down for the Holidays
"First of all, let's not be talking about lockdowns. When people were asking me about different things, lockdowns are not considered right now. We don't have this in this country. What we should be doing it likely will come. It almost certainly will because it's one of those viruses that when you have a high degree of transmissibility to it, it ultimately is going to get to you. The reason we had the restriction on travel was to give us time to first understand it better. And second to just intensify the things that we are already doing. So nothing different. I mean, [get] vaccinated for those who are unvaccinated; absolutely get boosted if in fact you've already been vaccinated."
RELATED: Virus Expert Just Issued This Omicron Warning
Dr. Fauci Said Here's Why There Are Travel Bans
Travel bans—"they certainly are not going to be effective in keeping out this virus for a prolonged period of time. The reason you do a travel ban is not that you think naively, that you're going to keep it out, but it buys you a couple of weeks, because if you can keep things out in force for a couple of weeks, you can do a lot of things."
Dr. Fauci Said Don't Freak Out
"No, no, no," said Dr. Fauci when asked if we should be freaking out. "We should not be freaking out. We should be doing the things that we know work when you're dealing with a pandemic virus. It's not the time to panic. We should be concerned in our concern should spur us to do the things that we know work. So rather than as you say, freaking out and rather than panicking, just do the right thing."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.