Never Ending Cycle: The Newest COVID Variant


Photo Credit: The New York Times

Omicron has already restricted travel and life throughout the nation and the world.

Sienna Rock, Reporter

On December 1st, the first case of B.1.1.529, better known as Omicron, was identified and confirmed in the U.S. With Omicron hitting the U.S., travel restrictions and Coronavirus precautions are already being put in place, not only in the United States, but all throughout the world. With more and more cases being reported, new research is being discovered and more information is being circulated about this new variant of COVID-19. 

South Africa was the first to announce the newly discovered variant. Worldwide, more countries are announcing cases being reported, including the United States. As of December 2nd, CNN reports that Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and North America have all recorded cases. Traveling has played apart in the spreading of this virus. Cases were reported to have spread from South Africa to Australia when a passenger tested positive in Sydney after returning from South Africa. The same thing is happening everywhere. Because of this spread through travel, countries are already putting more travel restrictions in place. Joe Biden has released his plan for the new variant and how he will go about protecting the country. 

When Biden was creating his new Covid plan, his goal was to keep life running smoothly. CNN reports, for travel restrictions, Biden is requiring a 24-hour negative test before returning to the United States. Currently, foreign travelers are required to be fully vaccinated before entering the U.S. Additionally, he will be locking down on mask mandates for travelers. There is also a push for vaccines and boosters nationwide. 5 to 11-year-olds are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will greatly help with keeping schools open and safe. This leads to the opening of “family vaccination clinics’’ that will be used for families to receive vaccinations all at once. Biden is working to increase production of doses, not only for the nation, but also to export to countries in need. Finally, he is expanding opportunities and sites to get tested. The cost of at-home tests will be reimbursed by insurance and sites will help give them out to families who can’t afford them. These precautions, restrictions, campaigns, and more are Biden’s plan to keep this new variant under control. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) determined Omicron a variant of concern on November 26th. Because the variant is new, there is limited research and information about it out. However, researchers in South America, where Omicron was originally found, are studying the virus and sharing their findings with the world. It hasn’t been determined yet if Omicron is easier to spread from person to person or harder. The intensity of the variant is also currently unclear. Omicron does appear on PCR tests, but it is undetermined if they can be seen with rapid tests. The treatment for Omicron is the same for COVID-19 and other variants. After tests and research is done, scientists and doctors should have a better idea on how to help stop the spread. 

Although many things about this new Covid variant are unclear, it is clear that Omicron will have an impact on the world. It has only recently been detected, nevertheless, it is already changing COVID-19 plans internationally. The future for Omicron is uncertain, but with this pandemic, it is not out of the ordinary for the future to be undetermined.