US health officials project determination in the fight against the Omicron variant.

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Senior US health officials Friday tried to reassure an anxious public that the federal government is doing everything it can to detect and contain the spread of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron.

dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser, said at a news conference that the scientists are closely monitoring the rate at which cases are doubling to see if Omicron will overtake Delta to become the dominant variant in the United States — and so on. Yes when. The variant has now been detected in six states, though most are returning travelers.

In about two weeks, he said, “we’ll know more about transmission, immune evasion and disease severity.”

He suggested that with the emergence of the new variant, which has multiple disturbing mutations yet to be fully assessed, booster shots were even more important. He said studies now indicated that a third dose of the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna significantly increased recipients’ levels of antibodies and increased levels of memory B and T cells. All three are important indicators of how well the immune system can protect against the coronavirus.

“While we haven’t proven it yet, there is every reason to believe that if you get vaccinated and boosted, you would have at least some degree of cross-protection, most likely against serious diseases, even against the Omicron variant,” he said.

On Thursday, the day after the first reported case of Omicron infection in the United States, more people were vaccinated than any day since May, according to Jeffrey D. Zients, President Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator. mr. Zients said 2.2 million injections were administered, including more than a million booster shots.

While drawing conclusions from day-to-day totals is risky, especially when the holiday season could cause delays in reporting, Mr Zients called the rebound “significant progress.”

dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the nation is better equipped to fight the virus than it was a year ago, citing more methods of prevention and treatment, and “more knowledge and experience of the tackling other variants such as Delta.”

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