Dec 16, 2021 - Health

Biden warns of "winter of severe illness" for unvaccinated Americans

oe Biden speaks during a meeting with the White House COVID-19 Response Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House December 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden warned unvaccinated Americans on Thursday that the Omicron COVID-19 variant will start to spread more rapidly in the U.S. if they do not receive their shots soon.

Driving the news: Research shows that Omicron is spreading extremely quickly, even among vaccinated people, though experts expect COVID-19 vaccines to protect against severe disease. Researchers estimate that it takes two to three days for the number of Omicron cases to double, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

What he's saying: "I want to send a direct message to the American people: Due to the steps we've taken, Omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would have otherwise done," Biden said.

  • "But it's here now, and it's spreading and it's going to increase," Biden said. "For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death — if you’re unvaccinated — for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm.
  • "But there's good news: If you're vaccinated and you had your booster shot, you're protected from severe illness and death," Biden added.
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