On November 25th, 2021, Dr. Angelique Cetzee of South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) detected and reported a new variant of Covid-19. The World Health Organization designated the new strain Omicron. She noted that while patients with the new variant were experiencing different symptoms from those infected with the prominent Delta variant, these symptoms were “very mild.” Coetzee has expressed concern that the variant could cause complications among the elderly and the unvaccinated, especially those with underlying conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified the Omicron variant as a “variant of concern” due to its increased transmissibility and unusual symptoms. The announcement of the new variant prompted many countries to suspend air travel with South Africa, including the United States. This move has prompted criticism from South African officials, who say the restrictions are part of a global overreaction.

Six days after South Africa’s NCID announced the new variant, the CDC confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the United States in California. Health officials said that the infected individual, who was fully vaccinated, had recently returned from South Africa. Current evidence indicates that the Omicron variant is more infectious than previous strains. On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced increased masking and testing requirements for travelers.

Left Narrative

The arrival of the new variant further highlights the need for vaccinations and booster shots for all eligible individuals. As more Americans get vaccinated, our collective protection against Covid-19 and its variants increases. The Biden Administration is committed to following the advice of health officials and ensuring that all Americans stay safe and healthy.

Potential question: Who are some of the actors ultimately responsible for the current state of Covid-19? Why do you think so?

Left-Lean Narrative

Right-Lean Narrative

Right Narrative

Although the new variant is more infectious than Delta, governments are pursuing additional authoritarian lockdowns despite no cases of hospitalization or death from Omicron. Biden has instituted a travel ban which he had previously called xenophobic, the World Health Organization skipped naming it the Xi variant to defend China, and the doctor who identified the variant stated it was no cause for serious concern. All who want the vaccine have the resources to do so, and it is time for the Biden administration to free their citizens from possessive Covid-19 regulations.

Potential question: Why are lockdowns and travel bans still on the table for Omicron?

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