What is the COVID-19 Variant Omicron?
There's a good chance you heard about a potential new virus emerging during the Thanksgiving day dinner chatter. It's called "Omicron" and it's a COVID variant. It also has a technical name, B11529, but apparently, the world needed a more X-Men kind of name, so we settled on Omicron.
Unless you're a virologist you're most likely extremely tired of hearing about viruses but this Omicron has garnered mega-attention in the last week and actually shook the stock markets the day after Thanksgiving. The Dow dropped 2.5% for its worst day of the year. Travel stocks and oil prices took a beating but the stocks that favor quarantine were up sharply indicating investors think we may be in for another round.
Here's what we know:
According to the Associated Press, researchers in South Africa were the first to detect this new variant but it didn't stay in Africa for long. New cases were also detected in Scotland, Portugal, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Australia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that "the likelihood of further spread of Omicron at the global level is high," and there could be future surges that could have "severe consequences."
But it is too early to tell if Omicron is more deadly than its granddaddy COVID. That's a big wait-and-see.
But the world has learned something since the spike in COVID-19 last year and we're better prepared. Travel bans were issued and borders were closing on a global scale. The United States banned travel from South Africa.
Meanwhile, leading scientists in the US - including Dr. Fauci, need a few more weeks to determine the severity of it and added that "we wouldn't be surprised if it's already in the US."
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