Update (1215ET): Asked by a reporter if the latest US travel restrictions on southern African countries might be premature, President Biden completely dodged the question, choosing instead to babble on about the US's program for sharing (ie selling) jabs to other countries, including South Africa, which Biden said is actually having trouble finding willing arms for all the jabs (even though the country's vaccination rate is 20%).
At times, Biden turned to Dr. Fauci, who was present with him in the White House. He also denied he was calling on local officials to reinstate mask mandates, but said instead that he "encourages everyone" to wear masks in crowded indoor rooms. Biden also said that lockdowns are "off the table" - at least for now.
"If people are vaccinated, and wear their masks, then there's no need for a lockdown."
The people have been warned: everybody must get their boosters, or else.
But how long will it be before the administration pivots once again, fixating on the next looming "variant of concern" even as a long-anticipated seasonal surge appears to have just began.
And if the American people need more boosters and vaccines to get back to "normal", Biden said that he would do everything in his power to supply the shots (which Big Pharma is happy to provide - for a price).
Dr. Fauci was there by the president's side during the statement and the Q&A, and dutifully followed the president back to the West Wing after Biden took only a small handful of questions from friendly reporters.
During a pre-taped interview, ABC News spoke with Dr. Fauci for its "Good Morning America" program. While officials are bracing for the first confirmed US cases, Dr. Fauci insisted that he doesn't believe more lockdowns or other restrictions - aside from travel restrictions targeting south African nations - are imminent.
"Obviously we're on high alert," Fauci, Biden's chief medical advisor, told ABC News. But when asked if other restrictions might be imminent, Dr. Fauci said "I don't think so at all".
At least one other public official quoted by Reuters, NIH Director Dr. Fancis Collins, said Monday that vaccines appear to work against other COVID variants, and that "there's reason to be pretty optimistic here."
Earlier on Monday, a US ban blocked most travelers from 8 south African countries in an effort to slow transmission and give experts more time to assess.
With the Biden Administration already working with Pfizer and others to create new iterations of the vaccine targeted to focus on specific variants, Biden insisted that "this variant is a cause for concern not a cause for panic."
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President Biden is delivering remarks Monday on the omcron variant and the hysteria surrounding what researchers have warned could cause it to outmuscle delta.
Watch live below:
Biden commented on the variant over the weekend, and on Monday he joined Dr. Fauci by urging Americans not to panic, but insisted that those who haven't been vaccinated should make sure they get the jab, while those who have already been jabbed should make sure they get their boosters.
Meanwhile, all the big vaccine makers are promising to produce a new jab set to protect specifically against this new variant, while urging all people to get their vaccines/boosters/another booster in the meaning.
Biden's message is the same as Dr. Fauci's from earlier: Don't wait - get your shots now! And don't forget to wear your mask!
Americans who have gotten all their shots, but are still afraid, need not worry, Biden said: because the White House would guarantee that its partners at Pfizer and elsewhere will develop new shots to target this variant, which hasn't infected that many people, especially when one considers the intensity of the global reaction.