Amid unfold of omicron variant, CDC anticipated to require unfavorable COVID

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Extra updates on the nation’s response to the variant are anticipated Thursday.

The Biden administration is getting ready to implement new journey pointers that might require proof of a unfavorable COVID-19 take a look at inside at some point of flying into the U.S., together with for vaccinated individuals, a spokesperson from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention confirmed.

The anticipated change comes because the nation beefs up surveillance for the omicron variant, the primary case of which within the U.S. has been recognized in California, the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Well being mentioned Wednesday. The CDC mentioned the particular person traveled from South Africa on Nov. 22.

Omicron has been deemed a « variant of concern » by the World Well being Group and had been detected in over 20 nations as of Tuesday.

« CDC is working to change the present international testing order for journey as we be taught extra concerning the omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all worldwide air vacationers to at some point earlier than departure to america, » CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund mentioned Tuesday evening. « This strengthens already sturdy protocols in place for worldwide journey, together with necessities for overseas vacationers to be totally vaccinated. »

Beneath the present pointers, individuals from different nations who should not totally vaccinated can not journey to the U.S., whereas people who find themselves totally vaccinated can so long as they supply proof of a unfavorable COVID-19 take a look at inside three days of touring. For unvaccinated Individuals, the rules already required proof of a unfavorable take a look at inside at some point of touring. The potential new rule would increase that one-day requirement to all vaccinated vacationers coming into the U.S. from different nations.

For post-travel suggestions, the CDC additionally suggests vaccinated vacationers get examined three to 5 days after arriving within the U.S. and that unvaccinated vacationers keep house to self-quarantine for a full seven days, even when they take a look at unfavorable throughout that timeframe.

Earlier on Tuesday, the White Home confirmed it was contemplating updates round testing necessities and mentioned coverage discussions have been ongoing throughout the federal government as extra is discovered concerning the omicron variant.

Extra updates on the nation’s response to the variant are anticipated Thursday.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky outlined a few of the anticipated adjustments on the White Home COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday morning. She mentioned the CDC is analyzing 80,000 COVID-positive checks per week — or about one in seven checks — searching for the omicron variant. The delta variant continues to account for 99.9% of all checks analyzed, Walensky mentioned.

Requested if she was assured within the CDC’s surveillance system given what number of different nations had detected the variant earlier than the U.S., Walensky mentioned the system is « sturdy. »

The director additionally mentioned the CDC is engaged on increasing a surveillance program within the nation’s 4 busiest worldwide airports, John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport, San Francisco Worldwide Airport, Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport, which might permit for extra COVID-19 checks on worldwide arrivals — although there was no indication that testing can be necessary for arriving vacationers or which arriving planes can be provided the checks.

Within the meantime, consultants are calling on all Individuals to get vaccinated in the event that they have not but and to get boosted in the event that they’re over 18 and have been totally vaccinated over six months in the past. Of these eligible for a booster, 100 million Individuals have not gotten one but, the White Home mentioned on Tuesday, whereas nearly 20% of totally vaccinated Individuals have, the CDC’s vaccine knowledge reveals.

Although the information on how transmissible and extreme the omicron variant is is not going to be out there for a number of extra weeks, as scientists across the globe work to assemble it, consultants imagine it is unlikely it’ll utterly chip away on the safety from vaccines and boosters, notably with regards to hospitalization and dying.

« Keep in mind, as with different variants, though partial immune escape might happen, vaccines and notably boosters give a degree of antibody that even with variants like delta, offer you a level of safety, notably in opposition to extreme illness, » Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White Home, mentioned on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Pfizer BioNTech requested the Meals and Drug Administration to contemplate increasing the booster suggestion to incorporate 16- and 17-year-olds. The company is predicted to overview the request within the coming weeks.

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