Kamala Harris says Biden administration “didn’t see” Delta or Omicron coming

“We didn’t see Delta coming. I think most scientists didn’t – upon the advice and direction we relied on – saw Delta coming,” Harris told the Los Angeles Times during an end-of-year interview. “We didn’t see Omicron coming. And that’s the nature of this horrible virus, which ultimately has mutations and variants.”

An adviser to Harris told CNN that the vice president was referring to the “exact type of mutation” and not the prevalence of the variants themselves. CNN provided official anonymity in order to discuss Harris’ comments more freely.

“The vice president’s comments referred to the exact type of transfer,” the adviser told CNN. “The administration knew that mutations were possible, which is why we ordered additional tests, additional equipment and additional PPE. This is why the president, the vice-president and all our administration have warned early and often that the best way to get to the other side of the pandemic is to get vaccinated. We were and continue to be prepared. “

But Harris’ comments – as has been reported – go against an administration that has gone to great lengths to project its skills and make the American people understand that they are on top of the virus.

Still, the advisor argued that Harris’ comments need more context.

“She and the president warned for months, they said the best way to get to the other side is to get the shot. Why were they doing this? Because it was clear mutations could happen.” , said the advisor.

The comments come at a time when the White House struggles to bring the country back to normal after the pandemic, amid an increase in cases across the country that threaten to derail a normal holiday season as promised.

“I understand. I understand. I totally understand,” Harris told the newspaper. “I mean, you know, one of the concerns I have is the undiagnosed and untreated trauma to varying degrees that everyone has gone through.”

Research is still early on on the virulence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but what is clear, experts say, is that it is set to spread rapidly across the United States and could overwhelm a system. struggling American health care provider.

The variant is expected to become the “dominant strain” in the coming weeks, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday.

No victory yet

Although Biden declared his “independence” from the virus in July, Harris said that did not amount to declaring victory.

“We weren’t victorious,” she said. “I don’t think in any way anyone can claim victory when, you know, there are 800,000 people who have died from this virus.”

Uneasy vacation at a time of Covid-19 spikes and sick jokes

The vice president identified the vaccine misinformation as a “singular regret,” the Times reported. Harris said she underestimated the role disinformation would play in spreading the pandemic, according to the Times.

“I would take this more seriously,” she said of the misinformation. “The greatest threat to the American people is the threat to the unvaccinated. And most people who believe in the effectiveness of the vaccine and the severity of the virus have been vaccinated. This troubles me deeply.”

CNN’s Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.

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