Omicron Variant Questions Loom Over Economy

Issue 99

The new variant of Covid-19, known as Omicron, was originally discovered last week throughout South Africa and since then has put the world on alert.

Policymakers around the world have begun to re-implement policy in an attempt to slow the spread of the new variant and buy time for countries to prepare. Israel has banned entry for all foreigners, while the United States has restricted anyone to enter the country who would be traveling from South Africa and seven other neighboring countries. Canada has adopted a similar strategy in which no foreigners will be allowed to enter the country if they have visited a country in southern Africa.

There have been no documented cases of the Omicron variant within the United States, however, health officials believe the variant has already made it to U.S. soil. Dr. Anthony Foucci has stated that the spike proteins on the Omicron variant, which is the mechanism the virus uses to bind with human cells, has 30 new mutations and thus will be more easily spread, especially to those who have been vaccinated for previous variants of Covid-19.

Much is unknown about the variant, health officials are uncertain how dangerous the new variant will be to those who contract it. Regulators who have taken a restrictive approach to limit the spread of Covid-19 are beginning to discuss a potential shift in strategy. The new variant has opened the discussion as to how Covid-19 will impact countries for years to come. Regulators are becoming discouraged by the continual discovery of new variants and now may attempt to move their strategy from restrictive and preventative measures and shift towards methods that will allow their citizens to live with continual mutations of Covid-19.

Source: Wall Street Journal