GUIDANCE

Enter Omicron: A COVID-Weary World Reckons With a New Variant

MIN READNov 29, 2021 | 23:30 GMT

People wait at the international arrivals gate at London’s Heathrow Airport on Nov. 28, 2021. The United Kingdom recently imposed new travel restrictions following the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

People wait at the international arrivals gate at London’s Heathrow Airport on Nov. 28, 2021. The United Kingdom recently imposed new travel restrictions following the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

(Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Uncertainty around the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant will exacerbate global economic trends in the short term, though the new strain’s long-term impact on those trends will depend on not just the behavior of the virus but how governments choose to balance competing political and social drivers. On Nov. 24, South African health officials released details of a new COVID-19 strain that contains more than 50 mutations -- including up to 32 variations in the spike protein, which is responsible for how well the virus can infect its hosts. At an emergency meeting on Nov. 26, the World Health Organization classified the new mutants a “variant of concern,” naming in Omicron. In recent days, confirmed Omicron cases have been reported in a number of new locations, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Israel....

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