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Omicron-positive American Was Fully Vaccinated, Says White House

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The first person who was infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the United States was fully vaccinated, the White House says.

This was disclosed by Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci at a routine news conference Wednesday.

In the same briefing, the top infectious disease expert called on Americans who have not yet turned up, to receive vaccination to get protection against the virus.

"Get vaccinated if you're not already vaccinated, get boosted if you've been vaccinated for more than six months with an mRNA or two months with J&J," he told reporters.

Separately, addressing the media after confirming the first Omicron case, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said, "The President's medical team continues to believe that existing vaccines will provide some level of protection against severe illness from Omicron, and individuals who have gotten boosters have even stronger protection."

The President will have more to say about our strategy for fighting Covid this winter, he added.

Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on his Administration's plan to continue the fight against the pandemic in the winter months and in the face the Omicron variant at National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, at 1.45 PM ET Thursday.

The first case of Omicron was detected in the United States on Wednesday in a California native who returned from South Africa on November 22, and tested positive a week later. The individual is self-quarantining, and all close contacts have been contacted, Dr. Fauci told reporters without disclosing the gender of the infected person. All close contacts thus far have tested negative, he added.

The infected individual experienced mild symptoms, which are improving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering stricter testing requirements to get into the United States — a 24-hour window before taking off from abroad — and also is considering having a period of retesting once a traveler get back to the country.

With 137602 new cases reporting on Wednesday, the total number of Covid infections in the United States rose to 48,695,518, as per the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 1960 Covid deaths on the same day took the total number of people who died due to the pandemic to 782,106.

39,318,563 people have so far recovered from the disease in the country.

As per the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 197,363,116 people in the United States, or 59.4 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus. This includes 86.3 percent of people above 65.

The number of people who have taken at least one dose has crossed 70 percent.

462,263,845 vaccine doses have been administered so far nationally.

The number of people who are taking booster shots is fast improving.

41,933,410 people, or 21.2 percent of the population, have so far received booster dose.

On Thursday, India became the latest country where Omicron variant has been detected. Its aviation regulator DGCA delayed the resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15 citing "evolving global scenario" in the wake of the Omicron threat.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said travel bans imposed on southern African countries over Omicron concerns are unacceptable. He compared the restrictions to apartheid. "We have the instruments to have safe travel. Let's use those instruments to avoid this kind of, allow me to say, travel apartheid, which I think is unacceptable," the UN chief told reporters in New York.

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