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Top U.S. infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci on Wednesday reiterated the stark warning that the coronavirus will probably infect most Americans eventually, but added an important caveat: While “virtually everybody is going to wind up getting exposed and likely get infected,” he said, “if you’re vaccinated and if you’re boosted, the chances of you getting sick are very, very low.”

Fauci made the statement at a White House news briefing, echoing what other top health officials have said in recent days. His comments add to the growing list of clarion calls to the unvaccinated, urging them to get shots by citing grim numbers that show the uninoculated are in danger of serious illness.

At a Senate hearing Tuesday, Fauci said that unvaccinated people are 20 times likelier to die, 17 times likelier to be hospitalized and 10 times likelier to be infected than the vaccinated. In that same session, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Janet Woodcock said that “it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get covid.”

A World Health Organization official on Tuesday predicted that the omicron variant will have infected more than half of the population in the European region in the next six to eight weeks, if current trends hold. Here’s how fast the omicron variant is spreading around the world.

Here’s what to know

  • The explosion of omicron cases along the I-95 corridor from the Mid-Atlantic to New England is showing signs of slowing down, according to health officials and epidemiologists.
  • The Biden administration is considering ways to make high-quality masks more widely available to Americans as the omicron variant fuels an unprecedented surge in transmission.
  • A pair of year-end reports have found that covid-19 was the leading cause of death for law enforcement personnel in 2021, far outpacing gunfire and traffic incidents.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced late Tuesday that he’s “extremely unwell” after testing positive for the coronavirus, forcing him to postpone his State of the State address.