Healthcare

Former Biden COVID-19 adviser: ‘Viral blizzard’ about to hit the US

A former COVID-19 adviser for President Biden’s transition on Thursday warned of a “viral blizzard” that is about to hit the U.S. as COVID-19 cases rise and concerns about the omicron variant continue to fester.

Michael Osterholm, who served on Biden’s coronavirus advisory team during the transition, said in an appearance on CNN that the health care system could be overwhelmed as omicron becomes more prevalent in the U.S.

“I think we’re really just about to experience a viral blizzard,” Osterholm told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “I think in the next three to eight weeks, we’re going to see millions of Americans are going to be infected with this virus, and that will be overlaid on top of delta, and we’re not yet sure exactly how that’s going to work out.”

“What you have here right now is a potential perfect storm,” Osterholm said. “I’ve been very concerned about the fact that we could easily see a quarter or a third of our health care workers quickly becoming cases themselves.”

Omicron was discovered near the end of November in South Africa and, despite quick action from the U.S. to ban travel from areas where the variant was prevalent, the new strain has been found in dozens of states. 

Early studies of the virus show it is more transmissible than the previous delta variant, but possibly less severe. 

Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said omicron will soon be “dominant” among COVID-19 cases in the country. 

Omicron “will assume a dominant role very soon, I would imagine within a period of a few weeks to as we go into January,” Fauci said recently. 

“Besides the toll of suffering and death which will inevitably go up if in fact we have that convergence in the winter months of flu and omicron and delta, we could get our hospital systems overwhelmed,” Fauci added.

Tags Anthony Fauci COVID-19 Joe Biden Michael Osterholm omicron Variant

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