Fauci says health preparation needs to be 'revved up' before Omicron variant hits the US

Fauci says health preparation needs to be 'revved up' before Omicron variant hits the US
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 18, 2021.AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool
  • Dr.Anthony Fauci says health preparation needs to "be revved up" before the Omicron variant hits the US.
  • The preparation includes getting more people vaccinated and boosted, Fauci said Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said health preparation "needs to be revved up" before the Omicron variant hits the US.

During an interview on ABC's "This Week", anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Fauci if health officials have detected the new COVID variant in the country.

"No we have not and we have a pretty good surveillance system," Fauci said Sunday. "But as we all know when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitability it will be here. The question is will we be prepared for it. The preparation that we have ongoing with the Delta variant just needs to be revved up."

The White House chief medical adviser said that getting more people fully vaccinated, including the booster shot, will be an effective way to prep for the Omicron variant.

"So if and when and it's going to be when it comes here, hopefully we will be ready for it by enchancing our capabilities...vaccines, masking — all the thing that we do and should be doing," he said.


The World Health Organization identified Omicron a "variant of concern" on Friday. It was first detected in South Africa and spread to other countries including Botswana and Belgium. Two cases have also been discovered in the UK on Saturday, according to a health official.

The virus detection has resulted in a wave of travel restrictions from southern Africa, as Insider previously reported. The US plans to restrict travel from eight countries on Monday. Fauci said that the travel bans "will slow things down" but won't "completely prevent it from coming into the country."

"What you can do is delay it enough to get us better prepare and that's the thing that people need to understand. If you're going to do a travel ban that we're implementing right now, utilize the time that your buying to fill in the gaps," Fauci said during the interview. "And...you'll learn more about the virus, you'll learn what its relationship is to the antibodies induced by vaccines, and above all you use this time to really put your pedal to the floor and get people vaccinated and get people boosted."

He added: "We have to give kudos to the South Africans for being so transparent so quickly by giving us this information. They're giving us time to be better prepared."