New COVID variant threat causes worldwide scramble
BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is racing to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the United States.
Political party identification plays a large role in predicting concern about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to the results of a new poll.
A poll released on Tuesday by YouGov found that Democrats were much more likely to be concerned about the new variant than Republicans. Although 80 percent of Democrats said they were "somewhat concerned" or "very concerned" about Omicron, only 35 percent of Republicans agreed.
International travelers to England must self-isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 after 2 cases of Omicron variant identified
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter travel restrictions for travelers entering England after the country detected cases of the Omicron variant.International travelers must take a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they get a negative result, ABC News reported. Face masks will also be required on public transportation and in stores.
A 59 percent majority of Republicans said that they were "not very concerned" about the variant or "not concerned at all," far more than the 14 percent of Democrats who said the same. A Democratic majority of 56 percent said that Omicron "poses a serious risk to all Americans," a statement of which only 24 percent of Republicans agreed.
Scotland Officials Concerned Omicron Variant Has Community Spread as 6 Cases Confirmed
Countries throughout the world are taking action to prevent a proliferation of the variant as scientists are still working to determine the danger it poses. Some nations like Japan have decided to block any foreign visitors in an effort to stop the highly mutated variant from entering its borders even as cases began popping up around the globe, AP reported.For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.New cases in Portugal and Scotland might already point toward local spread of the variant outside of southern Africa.
Awareness of the variant did not seem to differ significantly by political party, with similar numbers of Republicans, Democrats and independents all saying they had "a little" or "a lot" about Omicron. Only 8 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of independents said that they "haven't heard anything" about the variant.
The questions about levels of concern and awareness of Omicron were conducted during a survey on Monday and Tuesday among 9,938 U.S. adults. The question about whether the variant poses a "serious risk" was part of a separate survey conducted on Tuesday among 2,477 U.S. adults. No margin of error was listed for either survey.
Americans face at least 2 weeks of uncertainty as scientists work to answer 3 key questions about the new Omicron variant
Medical experts have warned that Omicron could spell a difficult new phase of the pandemic because the variant includes multiple mutations that could make it more transmissible and resistant to vaccines and natural immunity. Vaccine makers are currently testing resistance, with results expected in mid-December.
Democratic leaders like President Joe Biden have sounded alarm bells over the variant. Biden warned that the variant would be detected in the U.S. "sooner or later" on Monday, urging Americans to "wear your mask when you're indoors, in public settings around other people." Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency last week in anticipation of Omicron's arrival.
In contrast, GOP lawmakers have seemed significantly less eager to express concerns about the new variant. Some, like Representative Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), quickly began to push evidence-free theories suggesting that Omicron could be part of a Democratic conspiracy.
How serious is omicron? It will take weeks to understand new COVID-19 variant, experts say.
The new omicron variant presents more questions (and uncertainty) than answers. And it will take a few weeks for data to be collected and tracked.The answer to all three is an unsatisfying “We don’t know yet.
Jackson, ex-physician to former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, called Omicron "the Midterm Election Variant" in a tweet on Saturday. The Texas Republican baselessly suggested that the variant, which was first detected in South Africa, was part of a Democratic plot "to CHEAT during an election."
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) backed up Jackson's highly implausible narrative in a tweet on Tuesday, insisting that the doctor-turned-GOP-politician had made an "accurate diagnosis."
Accurate diagnosis. https://t.co/eDrmDrtLFS
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 30, 2021
Newsweek reached out to the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee for comment.
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Fauci Says COVID Could Be Controlled Not Eliminated With Vaccines Amid Omicron Spread .
"Better control is what I think we need to look for and then we can get back to some form of normality to our lives," Dr. Anthony Fauci said."I don't think there's a chance you're going to eradicate this because we've only eradicated one virus for humans in history and that was smallpox. Elimination is tough," he said on Friday during a TV appearance with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Network. "I'm not so sure we're going to be able to do that, at least not in the near future. That's aspirational.