As I See It – Christmas season keeps everyone busy, may not have seen omicron coming

Elpidio R. Estioko (Phpoto By FB)

We overheard and are confused that both Pres. Jose Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are saying nobody saw omicron coming!

According to CNN’s Jasmine Wright report, both Vice President Kamala Harris and Pres. Biden said they “didn’t see,” either Delta or Omicron coronavirus variants coming.

“We didn’t see Delta coming. I think most scientists did not — upon whose advice and direction we have relied — didn’t see Delta coming,” Harris told the Los Angeles Times in a year-end interview. “We didn’t see Omicron coming. And that is the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

The American people were busy preparing for the holiday season; the GOP were busy defending former President Donald Trump’s idea that he won the presidency and discrediting the vaccines/vaccination; the Democrats were busy defending President Joe Biden’s Build Better Agenda; and the medical people mut be busy combating the Delta variant that they never saw it coming!

Inside the meeting that led to Biden’s stark warning about the Omicron winter, A Harris adviser told CNN that “The vice president’s comments referred to the exact kind of mutation. The administration knew mutations were possible, it is the reason we ordered extra tests, extra gear, and extra PPE. It is the reason the President, vice president and our entire administration warned early and often that the best way to get on the other side of the pandemic is to get vaccinated. We were and continue to be prepared.”

Looking back, according to Steven Nelson in his New York story: Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic — and 11 months and a day since he took office — President Biden insisted, “I don’t think anybody anticipated” the dramatic surge in the more infectious Omicron variant amid criticism of his response as lagging. It all started suddenly,” Biden claimed Tuesday when pressed by reporters on his administration’s sluggish response to nationwide coronavirus testing shortages.

However, Biden contradicted that claim, saying he did foresee the looming test shortage and that he had been working on a still-vague plan to distribute 500 million rapid tests to Americans by mail.

“I knew that was coming,” he followed up — even though the details of that plan remained undecided Tuesday.

The contradictions popped up after Biden gave a highly anticipated speech on how he planned to combat the Omicron variant surge sweeping across the nation as winter begins.

“Is it a failure that you don’t have the adequate number of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now?” a reporter asked.

“No, it’s not because COVID is spreading so rapidly. You notice it just happened almost overnight, just in the last month,” Biden said of Omicron, which is only the latest variant of the original COVID-19 virus that the nation has been battling since early 2020.

Biden’s speech was intended to announce that the federal government will ship 500 million at-home rapid tests for COVID-19 starting next month, set up federally run testing sites in New York and other hot-spot areas and mobilize 1,000 military medical personnel to deploy to overwhelmed hospitals as needed.

The president unveiled the new federal plans to fight a tidal wave of Omicron cases. A key plank of Biden’s latest plan is to mail 500 million at-home rapid tests to people who request them online. “We will distribute these tests to Americans for free,” the president said. “We will have websites where you can get them delivered to your home.”

Press secretary Psaki said Tuesday that eight FDA-approved rapid tests will be included in the mass-distribution plan but added that “in terms of the numbers that different families can order … we are working through all those very important details right now.”

Biden also said Tuesday that Washington will open federally run COVID-19 testing sites beginning this week in New York City — and will expand related sites to other cities in need of more capacity.

“Before Christmas, the first several of these federal testing sites will be up and running in New York City with many more to come,” Biden said.

“This free testing is going to help reduce the waiting lines. The time you must stand there, sometimes it is an hour or more. We are going to continue to add federal testing sites where needed, so that if you want an immediate test there will be a place where you can get it.”

Biden also said: “We’re preparing hospitals for what is coming. I have directed the Pentagon to mobilize an additional 1,000 troops to be deployed to help staff local hospitals and expand capacity,” he said.

“That’s 1,000 military doctors, nurses and medics,” Biden added. “They’ve already landed in Wisconsin and Indiana this week.”

He continued: “This is on top of 300 federal medical personnel that are now on the ground having deployed since we’ve learned about Omicron.”

Biden also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be ready, including to expand hospitals into parking garages if needed. He announced the US government has supplied ambulances to transport patients where needed — and has caches of protective gear if hospitals require it.

Tuesday evening, Gov. Kathy Hochul, in support of Pres. Biden’s plan, confirmed that the federal government had dispatched 30 ambulances with accompanying medical staff to Upstate New York, where the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is surging.

At the White House, President Joe Biden on December 22, 2021, in Washington, DC, denied claims that his administration failed in its response to the omicron variant of COVID-19. “I don’t think it’s a failure,” Biden replied, “you could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago.” He did admit he wished he had ordered the at-home tests “two months ago.”

The president emphasized that unvaccinated Americans should not be visiting with family on Christmas, while vaccinated people can gather for the holiday, despite a surge in breakthrough infections.

“I know some Americans are wondering if you can safely celebrate the holidays with your family and friends. The answer is yes, you can, if you and those you celebrate with are vaccinated, particularly if you’ve gotten your booster shot,” Biden said. “If you are vaccinated and follow the precautions that we all know well, you should feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays as you planned,” he added.

We need to be ready and alert in complying with the plan to combat omicron to be safe!