How Omicron is Changing the Rules of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Once again, the pandemic playbook is being destroyed
The pandemic playbook is, once again, being torn up. In the course of just a few weeks, the omicron variant has upended recent calculations made about COVID-19, prompting a return to travel restrictions and calls to stay home, as well as a new push for booster shots and a re-evaluation of tactics such as vaccine passports.
The change is most acute now in Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans for a normal Christmas have been upended, once again, by a fast-moving variant. On Wednesday, a top U.K. health official told parliament that omicron was "probably the most significant threat we've had since the start of the pandemic." Similar scenarios could soon be playing out across the world.
Rich, vaccine-abundant nations that had once hoped the pandemic was over are now recalculating. Some worry they are overreacting. Speaking to Britain’s Sky News this week, the head of South Africa’s Medical Association warned that Britain created “hysteria” by overreacting to the threat of the variant.
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