Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said the administration was optimistic that “we’re not going to see a repeat of what we saw last year,” when the Omicron variant swept through the country.
Federal health officials expressed optimism on Tuesday that the nation was better prepared to weather a surge of Covid-19 infections this winter compared with a year earlier, and they renewed their pleas for Americans to get an updated booster shot ahead of the holidays.
While the trajectory of the virus remains uncertain, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said the administration was hopeful that the combination of infections and vaccinations had created “enough community protection that we’re not going to see a repeat of what we saw last year at this time” when a brand-new variant, Omicron, emerged seemingly out of the blue.
As families gather for Thanksgiving, the coronavirus appears to be less of a threat to most Americans than it was a year ago, when Omicron began spreading infection at an alarming rate. At the time, Mr. Biden banned travel from eight African nations and warned Americans not to panic, and he later dispatched military medical workers to hospitals that officials feared would be overrun with patients.
Now, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said he was confident about the holiday season as long as Americans continued to get vaccinated and boosted. “Nothing I have seen in the subvariants makes me believe that we can’t manage our way through it effectively, especially if people step up and get their vaccine,” he said at a White House briefing.