Perspectives: The Omicron Variant Arrives

Headline Roundup November 28th, 2021

The Omicron coronavirus variant is quickly spreading across the globe, prompting a series of travel restrictions and alarming warnings from political figures

The World Health Organization said Friday that Omicron is a "variant of concern" that has a "large number of mutations." Like other coronavirus variants, scientists are speculating that these mutations could be extra transmissible and possibly evade at least some immune protection — but more epidemiological data is needed to know for sure. While the Omicron variant is yet to appear in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that it's "inevitable" the coronavirus variant will be detected in the US.  Pfizer and BioNTech are saying they can adjust their mRNA vaccine within six weeks to combat the new variant if necessary. Also, Moderna is proposing an Omicron-specific booster candidate

Most voices across the political spectrum seem to agree that the U.S. should defend itself from the Omicron variant "without resorting to lockdowns." Left-rated outlets noted that the pandemic "is being fueled by the unvaccinated" and that this new variant "should compel all adults to get a booster shot." While many left-rated voices agree that it's "extremely unlikely that Omicron will render the COVID-19 vaccines completely ineffective," they also said vaccine manufacturers should "immediately begin developing vaccines specifically for Omicron." Right-rated outlets were more likely to focus on how the stock market has plummeted and raised concerns about bringing back social distancing protocols. Many right-rated voices also emphasized how "Americans and the rest of the world need to learn to live with an ever-mutating virus."

From the Left
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OPINION

Remember the promise of normalcy by July Fourth? How can it be that now — after Thanksgiving, after so much sacrifice and waiting, after the arrival of vaccines, after months of sweaty masks, distancing and isolation — that another wave of pandemic infection is upon us? In Europe, lockdowns are returning. In some hot spots such as Minnesota and Michigan, hospital wards are again overflowing. A worrying new variant is raising alarms. What happened?

It’s not all bad. The vaccination campaign has put at least one dose in the arms of more than...

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From the Right
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OPINION

Markets sold off worldwide on Friday after South Africa raised alarm about the new “variant of concern” that the World Health Organization named Omicron. The panic may be driven more by the fear of new government lockdowns and social distancing than by the variant itself.

The Dow fell 2.5% while U.S. crude prices tumbled 13% as the U.S. and other countries restricted travel to southern Africa. President Biden wants lower oil prices, and he may get his wish. But the frantic response by governments and markets may be overwrought given...

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From the Center
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ANALYSIS

The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with a suite of mutations that suggests it might be extra transmissible and be able to evade at least some immune protection, has the world eager for answers about what it means for the Covid-19 pandemic. But so much remains unknown largely because the variant appears to have been detected and publicized so quickly.

With other variants, a matter of months passed between the time they were first documented until they were designated “variants of concern” — in some cases giving scientists...

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