UPDATED 4:12 PM PT – Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky appeared to dodge a question regarding how the Biden administration prepared for the Omicron variant.
During an interview on Monday, Walensky largely ignored a question about when the agency knew Omicron was going to spread quickly. Instead of giving a timeline, the Biden official just said “things are moving quickly” and denied to give specifics.
Joe Biden said the variant spread “almost overnight.” This comes as critics have accused Biden of inadequately preparing for the latest variant amid his claims nobody expected its rapid emergence.
Walensky said the agency is awaiting more data about the variant and claimed individuals who are vaccinated have a much lower chance of contracting a severe case.
I joined @TODAYShow to break down the latest on the #OmicronVariant. While there may be breakthrough cases as we see more #Omicron, those vaccinated + boosted will have less severe outcomes & less risk of mortality. Get vaccinated & get boosted when eligible. https://t.co/6233KNWceh
— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) December 22, 2021
“I really do want to say we are in a very different position now than we were just a year ago because now we have the science,” Walensky stressed. “We have the tools that we need in order to combat this pandemic, even the Omicron variant and that includes getting vaccinated and the booster and practicing prevention measures we have been talking about.”
Walensky went on to advise everyone to continue wearing masks while indoors regardless of their vaccination status. She also added the “vast majority of people who are in the hospital right now are unvaccinated.”