On Sunday, the United States’ government’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Fauci stated that he hopes that the ban against those traveling from countries in southern Africa could be lifted in a “reasonable period of time”.
Like other countries around the world trying to quell the spread of the Omicron variant, the U.S. put into place a travel ban for those traveling from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. This ban was put into place so the experts could better understand the variant and advise on best public health procedures.
While the Biden administration is continuing to monitor the situation in real time, the move to lift the ban has drawn backlash as the general public is concerned about the growing number of cases in the U.S.
Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union”, Fauci stated that, “as we‘re getting more and more information about cases in our own country and worldwide, we are looking at that very carefully on a daily basis.” He went on to clarify that currently there is no evidence supporting claims of how the variant is more severe than previously detected Covid-19 variants.
Days after this ban was put into place, the first detected a case of the Omicron variant as found in California. As of today, the variant has been found in these 10 states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York and Utah.
Authorities maintain that the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19 is to receive the vaccine and wear masks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.”