The US government’s leading infectious diseases official, Anthony Fauci, has stepped up calls for Americans to get a Covid-19 booster shot, as the US hit the grim milestone of 50m positive cases – by far the highest of any nation in the world.
According to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins university the US now has some 50,025,005 cases of the virus. In terms of deaths, the figures show that the US is also now approaching 800,000 lives lost to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Fauci warned that the Omicron variant appeared to be able to “evade” the protection of two initial doses of the mRNA-type Covid vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s – as well as post-infection therapies such as monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma.
Omicron is spurring new fears as US infections begin to surge again, with infections still led by the highly transmissable Delta variant that has dominated since the summer.
Fauci said an extra vaccine shot provides “optimal” protection against Omicron, even though the government’s official designation of “fully vaccinated” remained at two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which was developed by another method.