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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.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.