Science

Omicron: Biden predicts a ‘winter of severe illness and death’ for the unvaccinated

Joe Biden warned of a “winter of serious illness and death” for unvaccinated people, with the explosion of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, and called on Americans to get vaccinated as restrictions around the world are increasing. .

“The only real protection is to get your injection,” the US president said, insisting that the Omicron variant is “there” and “will start circulating much faster in the United States.”

It is “of utmost importance” to receive a booster dose for those vaccinated, and “to receive the first dose” for others, said the president of the most devastated country in the world, with more than 800,000 deaths worldwide. balance that now exceeds five million.

The US administration says it is focusing more on vaccination than new restrictive measures for now.

But travel restriction measures are increasing, from Canada to Morocco, from Ireland to France, against Omicron.

With the approach of the end of the year holidays, France will reestablish from Saturday the obligation to justify “compelling reasons” for travelers coming and going to the United Kingdom, where contamination reached a new record on Thursday, with 88,000 cases of Covid. -19 in 24 hours.

The objective of these restrictions is “to stop as much as possible the arrival of cases of the Omicron variant to our soil, at which point we vaccinate with booster doses,” insisted government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

In England, the Premier League calendar was turned upside down on Thursday by numerous Covid cases affecting various football teams, as six games were postponed for the weekend. Tottenham, Leicester, Manchester United, Brentford, Watford … The list of clubs whose membership is decimated by the coronavirus grows hour by hour.

The 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, for her part, gave up her traditional family reunion, which was to gather about fifty people on Tuesday at Windsor Castle.

This outbreak linked to the Omicron variant has led the British to revoke their plans for the Christmas holidays, with company “Christmas parties” canceled and travel plans in France falling apart.

– “Race against the clock” –

In Brussels, the difficult coordination in the face of the progression of the new variant was at the center of the summit of the 27 leaders on Thursday, while Omicron could become dominant in Europe in mid-January, according to the European. Commission.

Health ministers from G7 countries also called on Thursday for cooperation against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which they called “the greatest current threat to global public health.”

Some countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Greece already require European travelers, even vaccinated, to present a negative test in order to enter their territory.

It is a race against time, “commented Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 67% of the European population is fully vaccinated, but this rate is below 50% in three countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia).

In Brazil, on Thursday the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 was approved for children aged 5 to 11 years, as other countries around the world have recently done. But President Jair Bolsonaro, himself unvaccinated, asked “unofficially” the names of those who approved the measure.

Denmark, for its part, became the first EU country on Thursday to authorize treatment with anti-Covid molnupiravir from the US laboratory Merck, for patients at risk with symptoms.

At the same time, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved two new treatments for Covid-19, which “considerably” reduce hospitalizations in patients at risk.

The agency also approved the emergency use in the EU of Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill, which has not yet received full marketing authorization.

A committee of independent US experts on Thursday asked US health authorities to recommend prioritizing Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s for all adults, following the publication of new data on cases of thrombosis.

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