DMV officials are already responding to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.
What is going on: Although the variant has not yet been identified in the US, health officials are already taking safety measures to prevent its spread.
Yes but: Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it’s only a matter of time before it’s found here.
- On Tuesday, Fauci and Former President Obama visited Kimball Elementary in DC to encourage people to get vaccinated.
DC Health officials tell Axios it will continue to require all private labs and hospitals to sequence at least 10% of positive SARS-CoV-2 samples.
Prince George’s County Council voted Monday to extend the mask mandate until early 2022.
Arlington County officials tell Axios that COVID-19 vaccines are still the best way to protect against all variants. Health officials in Virginia are encouraging the wearing of masks in areas with significant to high levels of COVID transmission.
The big picture: CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that the US has a “robust” surveillance system.
- She pointed to the US’s international travel policy that requires pre-departure testing for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. “We have the mechanisms we need to find it and when it occurs,” she said.
- The CDC also announced it plans to expand surveillance at four U.S. airports, CNN reported.
Be smart: President Biden said the Omicron variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”
Our Thought Bubble: We have this – let’s wash hands, wear masks and get a vaccine or booster.