The Student News Site of State University of New York at Brockport

The Stylus

The Stylus

The Stylus

New COVID-19 variant Omicron raises concern


A new COVID-19 variant called Omicron is creating panic across the world, causing many countries to shut their borders and cancel international flights indefinitely. 

First identified in South Africa, the World Health Organization said Omicron is a “variant of concern” and warned the global risks posed by it were “very high.” Scientists discovered this variant has an unusual number of mutations which can cause the virus to be more transmissible and less susceptible to vaccines 

Cases have been identified in 20 countries so far, including Great Britain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. On Wednesday, officials announced Omicron had been detected in the United States in a traveler who returned to California from South Africa.  

Although it is unclear if Omicron is already circulating around the US, there is one confirmed positive case in San Francisco. Health officials said the individual was fully vaccinated, had mild symptoms and was improving. 

Omicron has caused a lot of panic throughout the world since its announcement and public health officials are still unsure of how dangerous it is compared to previous variants like Delta. Although Omicron appears to be more transmissible and infectious, much remains unknown regarding if it is as deadly as the previous variants.  

The U.S. will now require air travelers to provide a negative test within 24 hours of their flight after health officials say Omicron was present in Europe days before flights were halted. The U.S. also announced restrictions on travelers from African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. 

There have been five confirmed Omicron cases in the Canadian providences of  Ottowa, Quebec and Ontario. In the last 24 hours, Quebec reported 756 new cases.  

 Although President Joe Biden has called the Omicron variant a “cause for concern” he says it is “not a cause for panic.” Biden says he does not currently see a need for a new lockdown.  

Experts say the COVID-19 antibody treatment might be less effective against Omicron and recommend an updated antibody-drug if the new variant spreads aggressively.  

In preparation for this new variant, New York State’s newly appointed Governor Kathy Hochul already declared a state of emergency as of Friday, Nov. 26 to try and prevent a massive spread. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello declared his own local state of emergency due to the continuous rise of COVID-19 hospitalization rates.  

President Biden recommends all U.S. residents to get vaccinated and wear their face masks. Health officials also recommend limiting gatherings this holiday season to 10 people or less.   

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Stylus

Your donation will support the student journalists of State University of New York at Brockport. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Stylus

Comments (0)

All The Stylus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *