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Biden to deliver address on COVID Omicron variant Tuesday

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President Biden plans to speak about the Omicron variant on Tuesday, a White House official confirmed to CBS News. Mr. Biden’s speech comes as the nation sees a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Building off his Winter Plan, the President will announce new steps the Administration is taking to help communities in need of assistance, while also issuing a stark warning of what the winter will look like for Americans that choose to remain unvaccinated,” the official said. 

“The administration is prepared for the rising case levels, and the President will detail how it will respond to this challenge. In addition, he will remind Americans that they can protect themselves from severe illness from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and getting their booster shot when they are eligible.”

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President Biden speaks during a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House on December 16, 2021.

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The average number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is up 26% over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations climbed 3% in the past week — all with the Omicron variant representing just 3% of cases.

But Omicron is well on its way to becoming the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S. The number of states with Omicron COVID cases rose to 41 this week, Elise Preston reports for “CBS Saturday Morning.”

The nation’s surge in COVID-19 cases has forced professional sports teams to postpone games, the New York City Rockettes to cancel the remainder of their Christmas Spectacular shows and college campuses to reimplement COVID-19 restrictions. With Christmas just a week away, many Americans are left wondering if they will be able to safely travel.

However, a Transportation Safety Administration spokesperson tweeted Saturday that the agency screened 2,233,754 travelers on Friday — signaling that holiday travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels despite the latest surge. 

Health officials still encourage COVID-19 booster shots as a way to slow the spread and protect yourself against the latest variant.

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