Will the omicron variant of the coronavirus force the world into lockdown again? For now, that doesn’t seem like the case.
What is the omicron variant?
Over the weekend, researchers in South Africa sounded the alarm on a new coronavirus variant, which had the scientific name B.1.1.529.
- The World Health Organization later warned that the new COVID-19 variant was a variant of concern, giving it the name “omicron” after the letter in the Greek alphabet.
- The variant reportedly has dozens of mutations that could make it more likely to evade vaccines and spread quickly around the globe, as I wrote for the Deseret News. There is still too little data to make any definite statements about the virus, though.
Are we going into lockdown again?
President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States won’t go into lockdown yet over the new omicron variant.
- There won’t be a new lockdown “for now ... if people are vaccinated and wear their masks,” Biden said, per BBC News.
- “We’re going to fight and beat this new variant,” he said.
Biden once again called on the United States population to wear face masks in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus so that the new variant doesn’t spread far, either.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced a travel ban that restricts travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, as per the Deseret News. Biden said at the time this was done as a precautionary measure to fight off the new variant.
- “For the world community: this news is a reminder that this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” Biden tweeted. “The U.S. has already donated more vaccines to other countries than every other country combined. It is time for other countries to match our speed and generosity.”