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    Workers unload sacks of rice at a grocery store, known as a kirana, in Bengaluru, India, on Monday, Jun. 21, 2021. DDhiraj Singh | Bloomberg | Getty Images India's economy expanded in line with market expectations for the quarter ending in September, but economists say risks like the new Covid variant omicron could weigh on future growth. Gross domestic product grew 8.4% from July to September — India's fiscal second quarter — compared to a year ago, according to data released by India's statistics ministry on Tuesday. It was in line with the growth expectations of economists polled by Reuters. During the same period last year, India's economy contracted 7.4% due to a months-long national lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. While the data is likely to be a "clear positive" for the Reserve Bank of India when its monetary policy committee meets next week, the recovery was not broad-based and growth disappointed in key areas like non-financial sectors, non-public services and manufacturing, according to ANZ Research analysts.Omicron variantEconomists flagged the new Covid variant omicron, which was first identified by...
    "Policy discussions are ongoing across the government," said the official. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the current vaccines should provide some protection from omicron but that it was far too early to know how dangerous the new variant really is. "Right now it does not look like there's a big signal of a high degree of severity, but it's too early to tell," said Fauci on CNN. "This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic," said Biden on Monday. "We'll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion." Here's more on Biden's response to the omicron variant: Omicron COVID variant puts pressure on Biden administration www.youtube.com
    NEWARK, Calif. (KGO) -- The race is underway to produce and use the omicron variant's DNA to determine how well existing vaccines work against it, ahead of the first case surfacing in the U.S. The Bay Area is playing a key role in that.ATUM in Newark was the biotech lab that key researchers turned to when the delta variant emerged. Now there's urgent demand to get the omicron DNA."We want to know as quickly as possible, are the vaccines we've all been taking... is the Moderna and the BioNTech vaccines, are they sufficient to capture omicron or not? We don't really know," said Dr. Claes Gustafsson, ATUM's co-founder.RELATED: US gears up for possible cases of omicron as 1st cases detected in CanadaOrders started coming in Friday. ATUM can take the raw omicron data and produce thousands upon thousands of tubes with a single DNA sequence. From that, multiple copies can be made. Pharmaceutical companies will use the DNA to test the effectiveness of their vaccines. Others will determine how well antibody therapies work and whether diagnostic tests can identify omicron.VIDEO:...
    (CNN)Since South African authorities announced the arrival of a new coronavirus variant that contains an unusually large number of mutations, countries around the world have mobilized by putting into place travel restrictions and precautionary measures.There is much that's still unknown about this variant, Omicron. While scientists are gathering more information, the public wants to know how worried they should be. Is the alarm around Omicron warranted? What's already known, and what are the key pieces of information still to be researched? Are there things we can do to prepare for it? I discussed all of this with our expert, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also author of a new book, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health," and the mother of two young kids. CNN: What raised alarms for scientists about Omicron, compared to other variants? Read MoreDr. Leana Wen: With new variants, there are three key questions to ask. First,...
    The new Omicron COVID-19 variant has managed to dominate headlines and much of the American consciousness over the past week despite the strain not even having been detected in the U.S. yet.  The variant was first discovered last week in South Africa, and is believed to have originated in Botswana. It has more than 50 mutations, including more than 30 on its spike protein, leading some to believe it could be vaccine evasive.  Experts tell DailyMail.com that it is too early for Americans to worry about the variant just yet, though they should still take basic Covid precautions, mainly to protect themselves from the predominant Delta variant. An expert tells DailyMail.com that Americans do not have to worry much about the new Omicron Covid variant yet, but they should still take some precautions to protect themselves from the Delta strain. Pictured: A man wears a mask at an airport in Lisbon, Portugal, in front of a public health notice on November 30 'It's way too early to be worried,' Dr Chris Thompson, an immunologist at Loyola University Maryland told DailyMail.com. Thompson...
    SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT (CBS SF / CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding surveillance at four major international airports, including San Francisco International Airport, to keep an eye out for the Omicron variant of coronavirus in travelers. Dr. Rochelle Walensky told a White House Covid-19 briefing that the CDC is expanding surveillance with XpresCheck, a testing service at airport terminals, to San Francisco and three other airports: READ MORE: Walnut Creek City Council to Hold Special Meeting on Nordstrom Smash-and-Grab— Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — John F. Kennedy International Airport — Newark Liberty International Airport She noted they are four of the busiest international airports in the country. The Biden administration imposed new restrictions on travel from eight southern African countries, including South Africa, late last week. Omicron was first reported by South African health authorities. But Delta Air Lines, with headquarters and major operations in Atlanta, said it plans to continue its Atlanta-Johannesburg flights. United Airlines also said it does not plan to scale back service between Newark and Johannesburg and will restart its...
    The emergence of the omicron variant has caused the White House to revisit questions over whether to impose vaccine mandates for domestic air travel, especially as travel picks up for the holiday season. The White House said nothing is off the table as the country braces for the new variant to spread to the U.S. A move to mandate vaccines for domestic air travel or to require testing would be controversial and likely hotly contested, but the Biden administration isn’t shutting down the idea. “He wasn't taking any options off the table, but he's going to rely on the advice of his health and medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table US, Iran return to same negotiating table Federal workers who don't meet vaccine mandate won't face discipline until January MORE told reporters on Monday, referring to President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE, when asked...
    This is a rush transcript from "The Five," November 29, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST (on camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Dana Perino, along with Dagen McDowell, Geraldo Rivera, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld. It's five o'clock in New York City, and this is THE FIVE. President Biden pushing for calm over the latest COVID variant, Omicron, after causing panic with a travel ban against eight countries in Africa starting today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. We will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. We have more tools today to fight the variant than we've ever had before. The best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there the ones we have been dealing with already is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot. (END VIDEO CLIP) PERINO (on camera): But the doctor in South...
    Washington (CNN)The Biden administration is coordinating with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to develop contingency plans in the event future coronavirus vaccines need to be modified, including to fight the Omicron variant, the White House's Covid-19 response coordinator said Tuesday.In the first briefing from the White House's Covid-19 team since the variant was identified, coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Tuesday that the administration believes "the current vaccines provided at least some protection against this variant and that boosters strengthen that protection significantly." However, he added, "In the event that additional measures are needed, we will be prepared." "We're working with Pfizer, Moderna, and (Johnson & Johnson) to develop contingency plans for modifications to vaccines or boosters if they're needed. And we will ensure that the (US Food and Drug Administration) and (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) review them as fast as possible while maintaining their rigorous scientific protocols," Zients added. Fauci says he doesnt expect more travel restrictions even if Omicron variant proves more contagious and deadlyThe administration, Zients said, is planning for how to support the manufacturers through...
    Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that his company is preparing to tackle new COVID-19 variants, and that he expects the company’s treatment pill will be effective in helping avoid severe illness or possibly death if one get infected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron poses a “very high” global risk, with the likelihood it is more transmissible than previous strains. The new variant has nearly three dozen mutations that reportedly decrease antibody protection. WHO described Omicron as 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." “We are prepared to tackle a variant like Omicron,” Bourla stated. “From studies of the Beta and Delta variants, we established an approach to develop and produce variant versions of our vaccine in (less than) 100 days, if needed, and subject to regulatory approval. Bourla added: “Still, we believe the best hedge against the spread of the Omicron variant and any new variant that may emerge is getting all eligible people fully vaccinated and...
    Federal reserve chair Jerome Powell warned Tuesday the central bank may need to 'taper' its asset-purchases sooner as he told senators the new Omicron variant could keep more people working at home amid ongoing inflation, in testimony that sent stocks tumbling. Powell's comments came as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 500 points Tuesday morning, amid ongoing fears about the new COVID-19 variant. His warning comes as scientists and policymakers are still grappling with how to deal with the new virus variant, and   'At this point the economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are high, and it is therefore appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases which we actually announced at the November meeting perhaps a few months sooner,' Powell said, in reference to the Fed's bond-buying program. 
    MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As more countries report cases of the new omicron coronavirus variant, there are concerns about whether it’s more contagious and virulent than the delta variant. “This thing has mutated like crazy,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, an infectious disease specialist with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “There’s at least 30 mutations in the spike protein. This is like way more than any other variant.” READ MORE: Ravens-Packers Game In December Moved To 4:25 P.M., Team SaysThose mutations could make it easier for the virus to infect the cells. “If you look at the data, it does look like it’s most likely transmitting easier than Delta,” Dr. Murphy said. “We don’t know if it’s really any worse as far as disease progression or death or hospitalization. So, it may be very similar to what we saw with Delta. But all this really has to play out, and it’s gonna take us probably at least one to two weeks.” READ MORE: Rosenbaum Drops Out Of Maryland Governor's RaceAnother concern, how effective current vaccines will be against the new variant,...
    Gov. Kathy Hochul cautioned that New York is bracing for the new Omicron COVID-19 variant to make its way south from Canada, and elsewhere, though she declared that the state will be ready for it when it does. Hochul said during a COVID-19 briefing this week that the new variant is being closely monitored by state health officials, including the state testing center at Wadsworth Labs in Albany, and while Omicron is a concern, New York now has more tools to combat it than at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020. Earlier story - COVID-19: First Cases Of New Variant Identified In North America “We’re fully monitoring it - but the difference this time, unlike last year, is we’re not defenseless," Hochul said. "We know exactly what has to happen. Anyone over the age of 5 can get vaccinated, and anyone 18 and up can get their booster shots. 
“We’ve always encouraged mask use, and we’re encouraging businesses to do the same among patrons and employees,” she continued. “It’s just simple measures … Mask wearing, hand sanitation, limit activities, but...
    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many city parents were breathing a big sigh of relief Tuesday as thousands of kids started getting their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As CBS2’s John Dias reported, vaccine sites are popping up at schools across the city to administer them. It was a plan already in place before the new variant, Omicron, began to spread. READ MORE: NYC 'Strongly Recommends' Masks In Public Indoor Spaces, As Omicron Variant Reaches North AmericaVisit schools.nyc.gov/covid19 to see when and where the shots will be offered. COVID VACCINE New York State book online here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX New York City book online here or call 877-VAX-4NYC Track NYC vaccinations by zip code Nassau County more info here Suffolk County more info here Westchester County more info here New Jersey book online here or call 1-855-568-0545 Connecticut book online here When the Delta variant first hit, kids in New York City weren’t eligible for the vaccine, but many parents Dias spoke to said now that they are, they feel reassured that kids will be better protected when...
    THE Omicron variant has been in the country for at least ten days, new data has revealed. This afternoon Nicola Sturgeon said all nine of the cases in Scotland have been traced back to a single event on November 20. 3The variant has been in the UK for at least ten days - before South Africa alerted the world of the mutationCredit: AFP That means the mutant variant was spreading in the UK four days before the world was alerted to the threat brewing in South Africa. The First Minister said contact tracing work had been carried out and more cases were expected to emerge in coming days. She told the Scottish Parliament this suggested there was community transmission of Omicron in Scotland, though it may still be "limited". Ms Sturgeon said: "None of these individuals - as far as we know - has recent travel history to or known links with others who have travelled to the countries in southern Africa where the variant was originally detected. "However, while the contact tracing exercise is still ongoing, health protection teams...
    Covid vaccine maker Moderna warned today that it will take months to develop an Omicron-specific booster jab despite President Joe Biden telling Americans they may need another shot to protect them from the variant. Stephane Bancel, chief executive at the Massachusetts-based vaccine manufacturer, said he expects the highly-evolved Covid variant to cause a 'material drop' in the effectiveness of existing vaccines, warning that the result was 'not going to be good'.  He warned that it will take until summer 2022 for Moderna to develop a new vaccine and scale up manufacturing to vaccinate entire populations.  Scientists say it will take two weeks to truly work out how effective jabs are against Omicron, which has twice as many mutations on its spike protein as Delta.  The strain is expected to make current vaccines significantly weaker at preventing infections, but it's less clear how it will impact hospitalizations and deaths.   Biden said at a White House press conference Monday: 'We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed. 'But so that we are prepared if needed, my team is already...
    Today: Mostly cloudy and cold with a chance of snow/rain showers — snow showers likely N&W — late this morning through mid to late afternoon. A very light snow accumulation of up to a coating is possible, but mainly well N&W. Highs around 40 with wind chills in the 30s. (Credit: CBS2) READ MORE: NYC 'Strongly Recommends' Masks In Public Indoor Spaces, As Omicron Variant Reaches North AmericaTonight: Clearing and still cold. Temps will fall into the 30s with some 20s across our suburbs. (Credit: CBS2) READ MORE: New Jersey Officials Monitoring Omicron Variant, But Say Delta Is Still A Concern As Travel Picks UpTomorrow: Mostly cloudy and not quite as cold. Highs in the mid 40s. (Credit: CBS2) MORE NEWS: NYPD Arrests Joseph Martinez Of New Rochelle In 1999 Killing Of Bronx 13-Year-Old Minerliz SorianoThursday: Mostly cloudy with just a chance of showers. It will be milder, too, with highs in the 50s.
    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s medical agency chief said Tuesday that it is ready to deal with the new omicron variant, and that it will take two weeks to have an indication whether the current COVID-19 vaccines will be able to deal with it. Emer Cooke, the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, said that if it does require a new vaccine to counter omicron, it will take up to four months to have it approved for use in the 27-nation bloc. “We are prepared,” Cooke told EU lawmakers, adding that cooperation with the medical industry is already ongoing to prepare for such an eventuality. “We know that at some stage there will be a mutation that means we have to change the current approach.” Cooke sounded more reassuring than the World Health Organization, which warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high,” saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” A widening circle of countries around the world have reported cases of the variant or have...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — Dutch health authority says it found new omicron coronavirus variant in local cases going back 11 days. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    A SURGE in Omicron cases would force new working from home orders, a health chief warned this morning. Dr Jenny Harries said Plan B - which includes whisking people out of their offices and back to home desks - would be sensible if more cases emerge. 2All Brits could be back to working from home if the Omicron cases surgeCredit: Getty - Contributor Infections in the UK have tripled in a matter of days after the mutant variant reached the country last week. There are now 14 confirmed cases, with scientists expecting hundreds more to pop up. While a serious surge is yet to emerge, the super strain with multiple mutations has left experts worried. Restrictions have come back in from today on mask wearing and returning back to the UK from abroad, with concerns more could be slapped on Brits to stop the spread. Dr Harries told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) "has shown that if we have significant surges in Covid cases, then actually working from home...
    CASES of Omicron in the UK are steadily increasing - with 14 now reported across the country. Scotland logged another three infections of the mutant variant this morning, on top of six reported yesterday. 2Cases of the mutant variant have increased quickly since emerging in the UKCredit: LNP And England has got five confirmed cases, with three in the capital. Omicron reached UK shores less than a week after being reported as a concern in African countries. The Health Secretary told the Commons yesterday afternoon: "There have now been five confirmed case in England and six in Scotland. "We expect cases to rise over the coming days. "The new variant has been spreading in the world - its been reported in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands. "In this race between vaccines and virus, this variant may have given the virus extra legs. "Our strategy is to buy time and strengthen defences while scientists learn more." ???? Read our Omicron variant live blog for the latest news Scotlands Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said there are now five cases in the...
    TOKYO (AP) — Japan confirmed on Tuesday its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently arrived from Namibia, an official said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the patient, a man in his 30s, tested positive upon arrival at an airport on Sunday and was isolated and is being treated at a hospital. A genome analysis confirmed Tuesday that he was infected with the new variant, which was first identified in South Africa. Japan announced on Monday that it will ban all foreign visitors beginning Tuesday as an emergency precaution against the variant. The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    TOKYO (AP) — Japan confirms first case of new omicron coronavirus variant, a person who arrived from Namibia. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    OAKLEY (KPIX 5) – A vaccination clinic in Contra Costa County on Monday took new urgency as health officials worldwide are monitoring the spread of the newly-discovered Omicron variant. While the variant has not been found in the Bay Area or anywhere in the United States as of Monday, for the adults and children receiving vaccines at the Oakley Recreational Center, Omicron was on the minds of those getting their shots. READ MORE: Lee Elder, 1st Black Golfer To Play Masters, Dies At Age 87“Sounds like it could be pretty bad, hasn’t really been around long enough for them to know enough about it,” said Michael Walko, who got his booster shot at the clinic. Contra Costa County Health, which held Monday’s clinic, said it has 86% of its eligible population vaccinated against the virus. In the last month, as the outreach continues on children, they have vaccinated 28,000 children in the 5 to 11 age range. “It’s clinics like this today that really are in the neighborhood where people go, where people are familiar with, that are so important...
    SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Dominating the headlines across the world is the latest variant of concern: the omicron. It's a variant first detected in South Africa last week.There are confirmed cases in more than a dozen countries but not in the U.S.That includes Santa Clara County where health officials say it's too early to sound the alarms locally."With every new twist and turn in this pandemic, including with the omicron variant, we'll do what we always do," Santa Clara County public health director Dr. Sara Cody said. "We'll learn about it, we follow the science and we'll adjust as needed."RELATED: All vaccinated adults should get COVID-19 booster shot because of omicron variant, CDC saysDespite the havoc the delta variant has caused the U.S., some fear the omicron could be worse because of the high-transmission rates of this virus and it's number of mutations.The delta variant had less than 20 mutations while the omicron has 50. These mutations allow the virus to attach to a host's cells easier and for longer periods of time.South Africa is facing more than 2,000...
    President Joe Biden on Monday warned Americans they may need another shot to protect them from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as he outlined the measures his administration was taking to respond to the latest threat. With scientists already beginning research on whether new vaccines will be needed, Biden also urged the unvaccinated to get their shots.    'We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed,' he said at the White House.  'But so that we are prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed.' And he said he was directing regulators to push as fast as possible - without cutting corners - to approve rapidly any new vaccines.   He repeated the point in an evening tweet. 'In the event — hopefully unlikely — that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to Omicron, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool,' he said.  'I am sparing no effort and removing all roadblocks to keep the...
    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – News of the new omicron variant comes as crushing disappointment to those of us who had hoped the pandemic would lift after the delta surge was over. And while the concerns are great, so is the uncertainty. Dr. Amesh Adalja says it’s not known if this new variant is more transmissible or dangerous than the ones that have gone before. READ MORE: Shortage Of Home Health Aides Leaves Pennsylvania Families Desperate For Care“There is a lot of uncertainty which is driving a lot of concern because people want answers now, and we don’t have answers yet, but we’re getting more and more answers by the minute,” he said. Initially, the news is good. Even if omicron is found to be more transmissible, Adalja says vaccines should remain effective against it. READ MORE: State Police Selling Yard Signs To Help Fund Shop With A Cop Event In Westmoreland County“It does appear the vaccines protect against serious disease. Maybe a breakthrough infection might be more common with omicron but you’re still likely protected against what matters: serious disease, hospitalization...
    ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey health officials are closely monitoring the Omicron COVID variant, but they are not yet issuing any new guidelines. While COVID cases in the state are on the rise in recent weeks, the Delta variant continues to be a concern, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Monday. READ MORE: Blast Leaves Behind Mysterious Crater On Fox IslandRegardless of the strain, the message remains the same. “We strongly encourage everyone to keep masking up when you’re indoors and distancing is not possible, especially when you’re with people whose vaccination status is not clear,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. Things like masks continue to be encouraged, not mandated. Murphy also encouraged vaccines, along with boosters. He got his booster shot over the weekend at Monmouth Medical Center. “The added protection from a booster is no longer just a bonus, it’s a necessity,” Murphy said. WATCH: CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez Discusses Omicron Variant, Transmissibility And More So far, New Jersey has fully vaccinated more than 6.1 million people who live, work or study in the state. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli...
    The White House on Monday was dealing with the latest and most serious threat yet to President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE’s pledge to “shut down” the coronavirus: a new variant that experts worry is easily spread and could elude vaccines. While experts cautioned that much remains unknown about the omicron variant, travel restrictions have quickly been reimposed to limit its spread, and the government on Monday stepped up calls for people to get booster shots to maximize protections. For Biden, whose faltering poll numbers have left Democrats openly worried they could lose their House and Senate majorities next year, the variant adds to an already difficult political climate fueled by inflation and goods shortages exacerbated by supply chain problems. Republicans seized on omicron as fuel for their attacks that Biden has failed to contain the pandemic, while Biden appeared before the cameras to reassure the public of his leadership on the central issue of his presidency. “This variant is...
    Left-wing media figures like NBC News anchor Charles Todd appear very concerned about the new coronavirus omicron variant discovered in Botswana – but not chiefly because it may or may not be extensively hazardous, the panel on "The Five" discussed Monday. On Sunday, Todd suggested President Biden should use the emergence of the new variant to "push back on all this vaccine misinformation from Republicans" and to try to use his political stature to take control of the vaccine mitigation narrative. On ABC's "Good Morning America," one pundit said the new variant poses a "challenge – particularly on the economic front – heading into an election year for the Biden administration, which is critical and could spell trouble." "The Five" host Jesse Watters remarked that the media is panicking over the wrong thing. Instead of analyzing the new variant's potential effect on the United States' current statistics, they're worried about their friend in the White House. "[Could be] trouble for Biden, but not for the people who could get sick," he said, paraphrasing the pundits. President Joe Biden points...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid growing questions and concerns about the new “Omicron” variant of COVID-19, President Joe Biden insisted Monday the U.S. can handle anything that comes our way, as local officials prepare for its eventual arrival here in the Chicago area. “We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion,” Biden said Monday. READ MORE: Couple's Beloved Dog, Ruby, Killed In Bishop Ford Freeway Shooting The Day After Thanksgiving; 'She Was A Good, Good Pup'The president, flanked by chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Vice President Kamala Harris, told the nation the variant is a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” He said the U.S. has more tools to fight COVID-19 than ever before, and is in a much better position to fight the virus than it was in March 2020, or even December 2020. The first step in the fight: restrictions on travel from 8 countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first detected. Those went into effect on Monday. Meantime, the World Health Organization said preliminary evidence...
    In response to the discovery of the Omicron variant — a new worrying strain of COVID-19 — President Joe Biden has temporarily banned travel to the U.S. from South Africa and some of its neighboring countries. The World Health Organization has labeled it a "variant concern," based on preliminary but still uncertain indications that it may have increased transmissibility and may be able to at least partially evade immunity induced by vaccination or prior infection. Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, meanwhile, pushed a false conspiracy theory claiming that Democrats are using Omicron to “cheat” in the 2022 midterms. The far-right MAGA Republican tweeted: Here comes the MEV - the Midterm Election Variant! They NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots. Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election - but we're not going to let them! — Ronny Jackson (@Ronny Jackson) 1638046070 Jackson has been drawing criticism from both the left and the right for politicizing the Omicron variant. Some of the most scathing criticism has come from Joe Scarborough, the...
    A new coronavirus variant revived old conspiracy theories this week as widely shared social media posts falsely claimed the omicron variant was nothing but a cover-up for darker agendas. Some online personalities over the weekend suggested omicron was invented as an excuse to change voting laws, or as a distraction from this week’s sex trafficking trial of longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Others baselessly claimed President Joe Biden made up the new variant to scare Americans, even as omicron, which was first identified in South Africa, hadn’t yet been detected in the U.S. as of Monday. Here’s a closer look at the facts. CLAIM: The government, Democrats or other powerful individuals made up the new omicron variant of the coronavirus to push for mail-in ballots in the 2022 midterm elections, distract from Maxwell’s trial or scare Americans. THE FACTS: The omicron variant is real and wasn’t invented as part of a nefarious plot, despite the insistence of some social media users over the weekend. “The Biden Administration and Dr. Fauci, seems to be making up new COVID strains, only...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — CDC strengthens COVID-19 booster shot recommendation to include all adults as new omicron variant spreads. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has issued an advisory for New Yorkers to wear face masks in all indoor settings, including grocery stores, offices and buidling lobbies as he warned that it is a matter of time before the new COVID-19 variant Omicron hits the city.  In a press briefing on Monday, de Blasio shared the steadily increasing figures indicating that the city might already be seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the holiday season gets underway.   'There are no Omicron cases here in New York City...It's very likely there will be. There are no cases at this moment, but nonetheless we are preparing to take action. Vaccination is crucial and we are going to double down on our vaccination efforts,' he said.  De Blasio reissued advice saying that all New Yorkers, regardless of vaccination status should wear masks indoors, including at grocery stores, in offices and gyms. He said his office is actively coordinating with New York Governor Kathy Hochul's to tackle the threat of the new COVID-19 strain Omicron, which was first...
    On Sunday, CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter weighed in on how the media should cover the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Stelter lamented that Fox News Channel pundits have been “making jokes” that there would be a new variant every two years ahead of elections to help the Democrats. He described it as “craziness” that will get “worse and worse.” “[T]his is what makes news judgment so complicated and so interesting,” Stelter said. “Right now, from where I sit, we don’t know if Omicron should be the lead story or not. It is new, it is significant, but no one knows how significant.” He later added, “Personally, I’m looking at some of the coverage from the right-wing media thinking if this variant is a real problem, it’s just going to deepen the divide. It’s going to make it even harder to talk to each other; it’s going to cause more hate and division. You know, because already on Fox, they’re making jokes there’s going to be a new variant every two years before the elections to help the...