G7 health leaders: Omicron 'biggest current threat to global' health

The Group of Seven Nations (G7) health ministers on Friday said the omicron variant of COVID-19 is the "biggest threat to global public health," as it continues to spread rapidly throughout the world, including in at least 77 countries, reports The Washington Post.

The G7 — which consists of member states United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, and the European Union — emphasized the importance of getting booster vaccinations out and an emphasis on nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPI). 

Britain, which is currently chair of the group, stated, "Deeply concerned by the rise in cases, ministers agreed that these developments should be seen as the biggest current threat to global public health. It is more important than ever to closely cooperate, and monitor as well as share data," reports the European news outlet, France 24

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President Biden has recently warned of a winter of "severe illness and death" for the unvaccinated.

The president emphasized the importance of booster shot uptake as he said, "For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death ... for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm," Biden continued. "But there's good news. If you're vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death, period."

A former COVID-19 adviser for Biden's transition team warned Thursday that a "viral blizzard," is about to pummel the United States amid the arrival of the omicron variant in the country.

"I think we're really just about to experience a viral blizzard," Osterholm said on CNN. "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."