Omicron: Israel closes border on new variant of coronavirus: LIVE UPDATES

Rand Paul castigates Fauci: “Astonishing and alarming” to declare “I represent science”

Dr Anthony Fauci has escalated his row with some lawmakers over the country’s response to COVID-19 by saying they oppose “science.”

Fauci has served as the face of the government’s response to the pandemic, putting it at odds with lawmakers who remain critical of that response. Senator Rand Paul, R-Kt., Has often fought with Fauci over various statements and policies from the President’s Chief Medical Advisor.

Fauci, in an interview with “Face the Nation”, called the opposition of lawmakers “noise”, saying they “are really critical of science.”

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Biden “prematurely declared independence from virus”: NBC’s Chuck Todd

NBC’s Chuck Todd challenged President Biden on how he handled the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in light of the new omicron variant that prompted the White House to ban travel from several African countries, from Monday.

Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” suggested that the omicron, from which most cases have been found in southern Africa, was not just a health problem. It is also a political issue for the current administration, he argued, returning to when Biden declared “prematurely” some sort of victory over the virus on July 4.

“At the end of the day, it’s also a political issue,” Todd said on Sunday. “Biden ran to tame the pandemic and he prematurely declared his independence from the virus in July.”

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Doctor warns against ‘drawing conclusions’ on omicron variant amid global concerns

In omicron hotspot, grim mood as South Africa faces variant

A new wave was long overdue and even a new variant, but the speed at which the omicron struck came as a “shock” to South African health experts.

“We expected to see a new or different variant gain momentum in Wave Four… but we didn’t really expect to see a variant with the kind of multiplicity of mutations. And it’s capable of becoming highly transmissible and evading or evading immunity at the same time, ”said Moshabela, the University of KwaZulu-Natal expert. “It was really the shock we got.”

Although the current cases are concentrated in Pretoria and Johannesburg, tests show that omicron is already present in all nine provinces of South Africa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NIH Dir .: COVID vaccines will ‘very likely’ protect against omicron variant, but too early to tell

National Institute of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins said on Sunday that current coronavirus vaccines will “very likely” be effective against the newly discovered omicron variant, but it is too early to say for sure.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Collins pointed to the unprecedented number of mutations this variant appears to have, making it unpredictable at this time.

“We know this is a variant that has a lot of mutations – like 50 of them, and over 30 of those in the spike protein, which is the part of the virus that attaches to your cells. human if you are infected, “Collins said. “This is a new record in terms of the number of mutations. So it makes you worry that this is a virus that is different enough, that it may not respond as well to protection against vaccines. But we don’t know. “

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Fauci calls for commission on ‘what went wrong’ with country’s response to COVID-19

Fauci said he would be “stunned” if the United States did not conduct an assessment of its response to the pandemic.

“I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see this,” Fauci said on “Face the Nation.” “I would be amazed if we didn’t have a very serious look at what went well, what didn’t work from a public health point of view, from a local point of view, from a global perspective. “

“I don’t think the public should imagine that will happen, with 760,000 dead and over 40 million infected … and we’re not going to go back and tear it up, examine it, do an autopsy and figure out. .

When asked if he wanted a commission to investigate the response, Fauci said he “absolutely” wanted one.

COVID-19 omicron variant “almost definitely here”

Former FDA director Dr Scott Gottlieb said the omicron variant is most likely already in America, although authorities have yet to confirm any cases.

“It’s almost definitely already there,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.” “Just looking at the number of cases from airplanes this weekend, it’s almost certain that there are cases that have entered the United States. “

But Gottlieb played down fears that Omicron might cause a reset at the start of the pandemic.

“We’re in a much better place than a year ago when B.1.1.7 first arrived or when delta first arrived,” Gottlieb explained, revealing that the CDC is sequencing around 100,000 cases per week and will implement a new omicron-specific surveillance system.

Fauci says COVID-19 will be rampant: “We’re definitely not going to eradicate it”

Fauci admitted that the virus could end up in a permanent endemic phase, much like the flu virus.

“We’re definitely not going to eradicate it,” Fauci said on “Meet the Press”. “What I think we’ll be able to do is get a level of control low enough that it doesn’t interfere with our function.”

“It doesn’t have a major impact on society and what we do, but it’s not going to go away,” he added.

Fauci says omicron “not necessarily” able to escape vaccine antibodies

Dr Anthony Fauci told “Meet the Press” that the new restrictions introduced on the omicron variant arose out of caution based on analysis of mutations on the spike protein of the virus.

“The profile of the mutation strongly suggests that it will have transmissibility and may escape the immune protection you would get from a monoclonal antibody or convalescent serum after a person has been infected and possibly even against some of the antibodies induced by the vaccine, ”Fauci explained. “It’s not necessarily what’s going to happen, but it’s a strong indication that we really need to prepare for it.”

The omicron variant has 32 mutations on the spike protein of the virus, many more than the delta or beta variants. So far, authorities only know that the virus spreads faster, but that is enough to cause concern as the effects of the variant remain unknown.

“This clearly gives the indication that it has the ability to transmit quickly,” Fauci said. “That’s what worries us.”

Italy detects omicron variant

Italy was among the last countries to detect the omicron variant within its borders on Saturday.

An Italian businessman who arrived in Rome on November 11 from Mozambique and then returned home near Naples has tested positive for the variant. Her family, including two children, also tested positive.

All five of the family have mild symptoms. The variant has been confirmed by Sacco Hospital in Milan.

The man has been vaccinated, according to the Italian National Health Institute.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Indonesia plans to restrict travel from Africa

Indonesia plans to join several other countries, including the United States, in restricting travel from several African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique , Eswatini and Nigeria, Reuters reported, citing an official document on Sunday.

Anyone who has visited the countries in the past two weeks will not be allowed entry at Indonesia’s borders due to the new variant of the omicron coronavirus, which was identified in South Africa on Thursday.

The ban will take effect on Monday.

Israel to close border and airports to non-national international travelers for 14 days due to omicron

Israel has approved a measure closing the country to non-national arrivals for two weeks over fears of the spread of the new variant of the omicron coronavirus.

On Saturday, the Israeli cabinet approved a two-week ban on international arrivals of non-citizens and imposed a mandatory quarantine on arriving Israeli citizens.

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