Feds Go on Offense Ahead of Potential Omicron Spread in US

 | Post date: 2021/12/5 | 

Deploying more emergency medical response teams, reimbursing healthcare providers to counsel Medicaid patients about vaccinations, and an education campaign to stress the importance of immunization are three immediate actions the White House COVID-19 Response Team is taking as winter and the possible spread of the Omicron variant approach.

"We are actively taking steps to stay ahead of Omicron," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said at a Friday press briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials.

"We are equipped and prepared to fight the Omicron variant head on," she said.

CDC staff already are working with state and local health officials to investigate and conduct contact tracing among the initial cases of the Omicron variant identified in California, Minnesota, New York, and elsewhere across the country.

In the meantime, "We are urging providers to get all eligible Americans boosted right away," Walensky said.

The CDC also is supporting efforts to enhance and optimize genomic sequencing to track the continued emergence of Omicron. Furthermore, she said, "We are continuously monitoring vaccine effectiveness in our real world surveillance studies."

It should be "a matter of days to weeks until we'll know more about transmission and severity of the disease," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during the briefing, reiterating the timeline for the essential science and clinical work to be completed.

Creating More Emergency Response Teams

As the scientists work behind the scenes on all things Omicron, the task force announced three specific actions the government will start today in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The three-prong plan centers on expanding teams of emergency volunteers to help treat COVID-19 patients around the country, reimbursing doctors for COVID-19 vaccine counseling, and launching a public education campaign to encourage more eligible Americans to get a booster shot.

Ordering Reinforcements

On December 2, President Joe Biden announced $20 million to strengthen the national Medical Reserve Corps and provide an additional 60 emergency medical response teams to support hospitals and healthcare facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients now and in the coming months.

"The Medical Reserve Corps has dedicated more than [a] million hours to their local COVID-19 response, often working tirelessly at under-resourced health centers and often without much recognition," US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, said during the briefing.

Cite this: Feds Go on Offense Ahead of Potential Omicron Spread in US - Medscape - Dec 03, 2021.


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