White House Issues A Stark Warning About ‘A Winter Of Severe Illness And Death’ For The Unvaccinated

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White House press room

It has been almost a month since the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 was discovered, and COVID-19 has been going through a massive surge in the U.S, reaching new daily case amounts that we haven’t seen since this summer.

As everyone is getting prepared for what might be happening next — fears of a second lockdown and what this might mean for the economy — the White House COVID response team issued some statements during a press briefing that were controversial at best.

Jeffrey Zients warned unvaccinated with “a winter of severe illness and death” for them and their families

Jeffrey Zients is the current White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and opened up the White House Press Briefing on Dec. 17 where he, Dr. Rochelle Walensky — the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and Dr. Anthony Fauci, talked about the new Omicron variant, vaccines, and what it all means for America.

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“Today, Dr. Walensky will give an overview of the state of the pandemic and on new practices that will help keep schools open,” Zients opened, “and Dr. Fauci will provide an update on the latest science and the importance of boosters.”

"But before we start, I want to talk about how we should think about this moment.”

Zients wanted to discuss the vaccine, and how fortunate we are to now have the vaccines that we did not have a year ago — how the vaccines and the boosters will help contain the Omicron variant.

“Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible,” he said. “If you are vaccinated, you could test positive. But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild.”

The COVID vaccines and boosters continue to prove their effectiveness in preventing serious illness when contracting the virus, even with all of the new variants that continue to pop up.

“We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this,” he continued.

According to information from the CDC, approximately 61% of the American population has been vaccinated, which equals over 200 million Americans — but it’s still not quite enough.

After applauding those who are vaccinated for helping fight the pandemic and prevent a second wave of closures and lockdowns, Zients had a message for the unvaccinated.

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“For the unvaccinated,” he said, “you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”

A stark warning for those who are unvaccinated who will cause more widespread illness and death as a result of the constantly evolving virus that only gets more and more infectious.

After the briefing, many Americans were astounded by the statement from Zients, even those who weren’t targeted by it.

“Who is this for? Unvaccinated Americans are not going to be persuaded by messaging like this,” said Olivia Nuzzi, Washington Correspondent for New York Magazine.

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But there’s also a resounding many who agree with the statement and further the divide and politicization of a global pandemic.

If the unvaccinated don’t believe that they’re going to be hurt or hurt others because of the virus, warning them that they will isn’t going to help solve the problem.

Joe Biden is set to issue a statement and talk about his winter plan with the country on Tuesday as many wonder what Omicron has in store for the rest of the country.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.