The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in the U.S., officials announced Wednesday, after a passenger returning from South Africa tested positive in California.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters at the White House Wednesday that the Omicron variant has been found in a person in California. The person had recently returned from South Africa, according to the Associated Press. “We knew it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States,” said Fauci.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the person is exhibiting only mild symptoms.
In response to the development, California Governor Gavin Newsom emphasized there was “no reason to panic,” but insisted that Americans should get vaccinated and stay indoors.
“CA’s large-scale testing and early detection systems have found the Omicron COVID-19 variant in California. We should assume that it’s in other states as well,” he tweeted. “There’s no reason to panic — but we should remain vigilant. That means get vaccinated. Get boosted. Wear a mask indoors.”
While it has been reported that the Biden administration is considering extreme measures such as a new round of lockdowns to tackle the new variant, on Monday’s edition of The Daily Wire’s “Morning Wire” podcast, guest Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Marty Makary explained why taking a measured approach to the variant may be the best course of action for the country.
“I think the first thing is that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. There’s a lot of fear about it, but historically all the variants to date of COVID, all 2000 of them, have been encompassed by natural and vaccinated immunity,” Dr. Makary said on the podcast.
“So we should feel comforted in that, even though we don’t have good data on whether or not this evades immune protection. And I think the other point people should know is that the therapeutics that we have — the new antiviral drugs that are coming on and some of the existing medications, like fluvoxamine — work against any variants.”
“So we should feel good about our ability to fight this, [even] if it evades immune production,” he continued. “Which again is unlikely.”
When asked, “Is it more or less dangerous from what we’ve seen so far as traditional COVID?” Dr. Makary responded, “We don’t know, but it’s hard for a virus to mutate to become more dangerous at this point. None of the mutations have really demonstrated that it may become more contagious, but if it’s encompassed by our current immune protection, then we should be fine.”
Later on in the interview, Makary again reiterated that based on the evidence so far that “if we look at all the variants to date, we’ve got a good track record to say that immune protection works. It’s durable and it’s something we can depend on.”
“So, I would say, don’t change your lives. Let’s not create fear based on the unknown,” addressing Americans wondering what the next steps should be in the face of the omicron variant.
Perhaps most importantly, Makary predicted that “…Variants are going to continue to happen year-to-year. We’re going to see this virus ebb and flow at low levels. And we’re going to continue to see people with immunity protected, and they should live their lives.”
“So at this point, we need to recognize that this is going to be endemic,” he added.
To listen to Dr. Makary’s full interview on Morning Wire, click here.