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President Biden, during a meeting of his coronavirus task force, issued a dire warning to Americans who haven’t yet received their vaccine as the nation prepares to battle the omicron variant.

“For [the] unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death,” Biden said.

Biden urged Americans to get their coronavirus shots, whether it is their first one or a booster. The omicron variant, he said, is in the nation, and it is “going to start to spread much more rapidly at the beginning of the year, and the only real protection is to get your shot.”

As the holidays near in many parts of the world, some countries are putting in place new restrictions to stem the tide and many people are taking new precautions.

Here’s what to know

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Thursday that people seek vaccines and boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna over shots made by Johnson & Johnson, citing the risk of potentially fatal blood clots.
  • South Africa, the first country to sound the alarm about the omicron variant three weeks ago, reported a record 26,976 coronavirus cases Wednesday.
  • The omicron variant has now likely reached nearly every country, according to the World Health Organization.