As Christmas approaches and citizens realize the stores are empty and what is on the shelves are insanely expensive, the focus of their ire will be on the administration that created this economy through systematic dismantling of Trump-era policies that worked and kept America moving. Without a distraction like a deadly flu variant to distract the media narrative, the Biden administration is fearing a backlash that will resonate deep into 2022.
The U.S. is considering lifting its South Africa travel ban as White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci states early indications from South Africa imply that the Omicron variant may not be as difficult as previously feared.
"Thus far - though it's too early to really make any definitive statements about it - it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it, but we've really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn't cause any severe illness comparable to delta," he stated.
"But thus far, the signals are a bit encouraging regarding the severity. But again we've got to hold judgement until we get more experienced."
President Joe Biden locked eight South African nations out of the U.S. last Monday in fear of the new super mutant COVID variant, and the ban is still in place, notwithstanding travel remaining open to other foreign nations.
Although the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa, it was later announced that a case of the variant was confirmed in Europe a week before cases were detected in South Africa.
Last Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced it was "deeply unfair" to isolate a single area, describing the ban as "travel apartheid."
Yet Fauci announced Sunday that the limitations were made during a time when an explosion of Omicron cases were shaking South Africa as the severity of the variant remained unknown.
He stated U.S. officials are now reevaluating the limitations.
"When the ban was put on, it was put to give us time to figure out just what is going on," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper throughout Sunday morning's episode of State of the Nation.
"Now as you mentioned, as we are getting more and more information about cases in our own country and worldwide, we're looking at that very carefully on a daily basis."
He announced he's hopeful they're keeping close tabs on the situation as they mull whether a ban is needed.
"We all feel very badly about the hardship that might have been put upon not only South Africa but the other African countries," Fauci told CNN. "For that reason, in real time - literally on a daily basis -we are reevaluating that policy."
The outbreak of the new variant in the province of Gauteng in South Africa has triggered the sharpest growth in hospitalizations of any prior wave, sparking anxieties of a similar outbreak in other countries.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy urged Americans not to panic over the new variant on Sunday, yet explained they should continue to take precautions.
"I do think it's a reason for us to not necessarily panic but to be more vigilant and to recognize that the precautions that we have been talking about for the last year or so are all the more important now than ever," Murthy told Fox News host Chris Wallace.