President Biden: Omicron is cause for concern, but not panic

As a new variant of COVID-19 has developed, President Joe Biden says the new strain is cause for concern, but not for panic.

He banned travel from eight South African countries on Monday.  "While travel restrictions can slow the spread, it can't stop it," Biden said. "But what it does, it gives us time, time to take more action."

While much is still being learned about the new variant, the World Health Organization says it's not clear yet whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants, including Delta. And according to preliminary research, studies show there might be a higher chance that if you've had COVID, you could get re-infected with Omicron.

"Sooner or later, we're going to see cases here in the U.S.," Biden said. "We'll have to face this new threat just like we have faced those that have come before it."

Biden says to beat the pandemic, people must continue to get vaccinated and get their boosters. Adding while he hopes the vaccines that are already in place will be enough to fight the new strain - he's prepared to administer updated vaccines. "My team is already working with officials at Pfizer and Moderna and Johnson and Johnson to develop vaccines and boosters if needed"

Biden says over the next few days and weeks, more information will come out about the new variant. On Thursday, he is expected to announce his detailed plan on winter COVID-19 plans.

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