MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 ( HealthDay News) -- As coronavirus cases start to surge once again across the United States, President Joe Biden will address the nation about the Omicron variant on Tuesday.
"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 told CBS News.
"The administration is prepared for the rising case levels, and the President will detail how it will respond to this challenge," the official added. "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."
COVID-19 cases have spiked 26% over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations rose 3% last week, CBS News reported.
At the moment, Omicron represents just 3% of cases, but it is expected to quickly become the dominant strain in the United States. Already, the new variant has been detected in 41 states.
Booster shots are considered the best defense against the new variant, but only 60.2 million of nearly 204 million fully vaccinated Americans have gotten their booster shot, CDC data shows.
While the sharp rise in cases has led to measures such as professional sports teams postponing games and college campuses bringing back COVID-19 restrictions, it doesn't appear to have stopped Americans from traveling.
On Saturday, a Transportation Safety Administration spokesperson tweeted that the agency screened more than 2.2 million travelers on Friday, suggesting that holiday travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, CBS News reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Omicron variant.