Here’s what we know about Omicron — next to nothing.
But that hasn’t kept officials — in liberal states and cities, of course — from once again declaring Draconian measures to address the COVID-19 virus, including mask mandates for every resident and business and requirements to provide proof of vaccination.
On Monday, California officials announced a statewide universal indoor masking mandate to last until Jan. 15. The same day, Philadelphia announced proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required to to dine indoors at bars, restaurants, indoor sporting events and other food-related establishments.
From the day Omicron was first revealed, right around Thanksgiving, the mainstream media has gone hog-wild over the story (“if it bleeds, it leads,” goes the old journalism saying). But despite the breathless headlines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that there were just 43 cases of Omicron detected in the U.S. during the first eight days of December.
Among the small number, 34 were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 14 had also received a booster shot. And just one of those suffering from Omicron was briefly hospitalized. All else were mild cases.
After the variant emerged, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Omicron poses a “very high” global risk and could bypass even those who have been vaccinated. The strain is a “highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations… some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility,” the U.N. agency said.