Biden official warns: COVID explosion imminent

New data from South Africa and Europe hint that Omicron cases are poised to explode in the U.S., where the vast majority of the population isn't well protected against infection.

Driving the news: A new analysis by South Africa's largest private insurer paints a picture of Omicron's clinical risk: Two doses of Pfizer's vaccine appear to be significantly less effective against severe disease with Omicron than previous variants.

  • But the variant is less likely to lead to hospitalization in adults than the original version.

What they're saying: "Everything points to a large wave. A large wave is coming," a senior Biden administration official told Axios.

  • "It will be fast. It won't be as severe, but regrettably, there will be plenty of hospitalizations," the official added.