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The White House is attempting to clarify previous comments from Vice President Kamala Harris about the government’s foresight into the COVID-19 delta and omicron variants.
“The Vice President’s comments referred to the exact kind of mutation,” said a statement by a Harris adviser obtained by Fox News on Saturday. “The administration knew mutations were possible, it [is] the reason we ordered extra tests, extra gear and extra PPE.”
Vice President Kamala Harris looks over documents during a meeting with President Joe Biden and members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, on the latest developments related to the Omicron variant. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“We didn’t see delta coming. I think most scientists did not — upon whose advice and direction we have relied — didn’t see delta coming,” Harris told the LA Times on Friday. “We didn’t see omicron coming. And that’s the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”
Both variants are currently present in the United States. The newer omicron variant is highly contagious and is expected to quickly replace the delta strain, which spread over the summer.
The White House added that the administration’s focus on vaccinations, masking and social distancing was in preparation for possible variants.
“It is the reason the President, Vice President and our entire administration warned early and often that the best way to get on the other side of the pandemic is to get vaccinated. We were and continue to be prepared.”
Vice President Kamala Harris gives remarks after touring the electric vehicle operations at Charlotte Area Transit Systems bus garage in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dec. 2, 2020. (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)
Harris was once was viewed as an heir apparent to Biden, but Democrats are reportedly considering other alternatives as well should the president decide not to seek reelection.
Fox News’ Patrick Ward and Keith Koffler contributed to this report.