'Fox & Friends Weekend' hosts suggest new variant meant to distract from Biden's struggles

The hosts of "Fox & Friends Weekend" on Saturday suggested that warnings from public health officials about the emergence of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus could be an attempt to distract from several challenges President BidenJoe BidenBiden says he didn't 'overpromise' Finland PM pledges 'extremely tough' sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine Russia: Nothing less than NATO expansion ban is acceptable MORE is facing. 

"Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegAirlines suspend US flights in response to 5G deployment AT&T, Verizon to delay 5G rollout near certain airports Top Democrats call on AT&T and Verizon to delay 5G rollouts near airports MORE, our Transportation secretary ... has said we can't fix the supply chain problem until the pandemic is over, until COVID is over, and now we see these new variants," said Rachel Campos-Duffy, the wife of former Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyRebecca Kleefisch raises .3 million in Wisconsin gubernatorial bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden unleashes on Trump and GOP Ex-Rep. Duffy rejects Trump entreaties, won't run for Wisconsin governor MORE (R-Wis.) and a co-host on the weekend morning show. "That's the answer, is more lockdowns, more lockdowns, more fear and therefore he does not have to do his job." 

Members of Biden's administration, Campos-Duffy suggested, are thinking to themselves "we'll just keep this whole thing going," in reference to the pandemic.  

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"There's always a new variant," co-host Will Cain said. 

"And there's always a new variant," Pete Hegseth, the show's third co-host, said as well. "Count on a new variant every October." 

Campos-Duffy laughed. 

"They could speed up," Cain said, also chuckling. "The new variants and the boosters and the emergencies."

Hegseth held his hand up to his ear, imitating a phone call by top federal officials. 

"We're going to need to a new variant here," he joked. "My God." 

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last month said supply chain issues could persist into the next year as many companies struggle to get products to consumers ahead of the holiday season. 

The World Health Organization on Friday said the new coronavirus variant was first identified in South Africa and can be classified as being “of concern,” due to the variant’s large number of mutations and an increased risk of reinfection.

It is unclear if current vaccinations being used in the United States are effective against the omicron strain, but federal health officials said repeatedly on Sunday that vaccination and booster shots are the best way Americans can protect themselves from all strains of various viruses. 

“There's no reason to panic, but it’s a great reason to get boosted,” National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said Sunday during an appearance on CNN.

President Biden echoed that sentiment during an address on Monday, but said his administration is not considering recommending more public health mandates at this time. 

“On Thursday, I'll be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we're going fight COVID this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more,” Biden said. “If people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there is no need for the lockdown."