Omicron is coming; WHO calls special meeting; Biden issues statement; Dow loses 900+ points

Omicron is coming; WHO calls special meeting; Biden issues statement; Dow loses 900+ points

President Joe Biden asked Americans to get vaccinated again on Friday, November 26. He mentioned it while announcing travel restrictions from eight southern African countries. A new COVID-19 variant, dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization, may prove to be more problematic than any earlier variants.


The WHO, a United Nations health agency, called a special meeting on Friday to discuss the troubling new variation of the virus causing the global pandemic for the past two years.

Omicron, originally referred to as variant B1.1.529, is “highly-transmissible.” It has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the WHO.

Not much is known about the new variant. While officials are reluctant to go on the record about the details, some outside observers had said the current PCR COVID tests detect the variant.

The new variant concerns vaccine makers as there are some indications that it may be able to skirt the body’s immune defenses, whether from a vaccine or from earlier infection.

"The recently described Omicron variant includes mutations seen in the Delta variant that are believed to increase transmissibility and mutations seen in the Beta and Delta variants that are believed to promote immune escape," Moderna said Friday in a news release.

"The combination of mutations represents a significant potential risk to accelerate the waning of natural and vaccine-induced immunity," Moderna said.

Travel restrictions

The Biden Administration restricted travel today from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Malawi. The restrictions will take effect on Monday.

Some journalists questioned President Biden about the delay in travel restrictions, and some European countries put their travel ban into immediate effect. Biden replied that he was taking advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and others and that little is known about the new variant.

The UK, Japan, France, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Malta, Egypt, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan have all announced travel restrictions from the same southern African countries. Most are stopping travel effective midnight on Friday night. Germany will only allow in flights that are repatriating German citizens to their home country. Greece will allow only “essential travel” from the area, with travelers needed to get a special permit from Greek embassies in the African countries. Canada is taking steps similar to the US. Turkey is banning travel from five of these countries effective Friday night.


The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued a statement Friday that summed up the worlds’ concerns:

"There is considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant. However, given its immune escape potential and potentially increased transmissibility advantage compared to Delta, we assess the probability of further introduction and community spread in the EU/EEA as HIGH. In a situation where the Delta variant is resurgent in the EU/EEA, the impact of the introduction and possible further spread of Omicron could be VERY HIGH. In conclusion, the overall level of risk for the EU/EEA associated with the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron is assessed as HIGH to VERY HIGH," the statement said.

No restrictions or mandates were announced by the Biden administration for the population of the US.

Dow Jones drops 900 points

The Dow Jones dropped 905 points on Friday on the news of the variant and the uncertainty it might cause in world travel and commerce.

Barron summed up the bad news, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst day of the year, falling 905 points, or 2.5% in holiday-shortened trading. The S&P 500 ended 2.3% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 2.2%. This was the worst Black Friday on record for all three indexes.”

Gold also lost ground today, shedding $21.00 to close at $1791.00 per ounce.

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