Biden promised to 'shut down' COVID, but omicron variant poses new challenge for admin

The omicron variant, according to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, has a large number of mutations, “some of which are concerning.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington. 

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Friday, Biden restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries over concerns of the “heavily mutated” variant, which has been identified in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

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Earlier this week, prior to the implementation of the travel ban, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain boastfully touted Biden’s handling of the pandemic, telling anyone who “wants to have a debate about COVID” to “bring it on.”

Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Let’s be clear: the day we got here, 4000 people a day were dying and one percent of Americans were vaccinated. Today, deaths are down 75 percent, and almost 200 million Americans are fully vax’ed,” he said in a tweet. “We still have a LOT of work to do.”

“But if anyone wants to have a debate about COVID, bring it on,” Klain added.

According to Biden, he is taking advice on how to deal with the omicron variant from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommended the newly established travel restrictions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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