Coronavirus Watch

CDC: US is Better Prepared for Omicron variant

At a White House briefing Tuesday Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Us Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assured Americans that US is better prepared to fight Omicron, which has different mutations than the other variants.

To be crystal clear — we have far more tools to fight the variant than we had at this time last year.

– Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC (source: The Washington Post)

Dr. Walensky added “as part of the ramped-up efforts to ward off new variants, the U.S. has significantly increased genomic sequencing from 8,000 samples a week earlier this year to 80,000 samples a week. It has also expanded its surveillance to the John F. Kennedy, San Francisco, Newark and Atlanta airports, four of the busiest in the country, for increased testing for specific international arrivals.”

The CNN’s Omicron updates adds Walensky saying:

  • “CDC is evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including critical partner testing closer to the time of flights and considerations around additional post arrival testing and self-quarantine.
  • “Thanks to our updated travel policies earlier this month, we are also actively working with the airlines to collect passenger information that can be used by CDC and local public health jurisdictions to enhance contact tracing and post-arrival follow-up should a case be identified in a traveler.
  • “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are holding regular, even daily calls, with local county and state health officials and our public health partners. These calls include state, county and city health officials, state epidemiologists, laboratory directors and partners from public health organizations. And we are conveying the knowledge we have to these partners and we are relying on their local expertise to provide information.
  • “We have worked to address that spread of infection for travel during travel through nesting vaccination and pre departure testing for international passengers. And we are continuously working closely with our public health partners, both here in America and around the world”

Commenting on current travel restrictions to South African countries, Pres. Biden told reporters that it “kind of depends” how long travel restrictions will remain in place.

Well, it kind of depends. It’s going week-to-week, to determine what we need and the what the state of affairs (is). We’re going to learn a lot more in the next couple of weeks about the lethality of this virus, about how much it spreads, about whether what we have can control it, etc.

– Pres. Joe Biden (soruce: CNN)

Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters “CDC was evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including pre-departure testing closer to the time of flight and considerations around additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines.”

According CNN, the CDC is also working to revise testing requirements for travelers to the US.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Dec 3, 9 a.m.) 580,893,145 doses have been distributed and 466,348,132 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Dec 1) a total of 7,938,605 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Dec 3) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 926,931 (out of 15,063,685 tested) with 9,616 deaths.