Omicron and other variants cause rising numbers and tensions

Robert Pawlak, Copy and Design Chief

Disclaimer: Article is up to date as of February 15

With winter and New Year’s break coming to a close for schools internationally, students are readjusting after a week of relaxation and cele-bration back to COVID-19 safety protocols. Since the break, there has been a noticeable spike in cases throughout the U.S. reaching a total of 1,349,000 on January 10, although there was a decrease in cases recently dropping the seven-day average to roughly 153,029. With a seven-day average of deaths making the total figure around 2,471 in the past week.

Since before the introduction of Omicron to the United States on November 22, 2021, rapid testing kits have been on the rise in popularity with them becoming the top option among COVID-19 tests due to the accessibility and convenience that they provide users. These at-home kits are highly speculated to be one of the keys to getting through COVID-19 in the long term. Kits are sold in nearly every pharmaceutical store or even convenience stores such as Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and even Stop & Shop. In addition, on January 8, the government launched a website at where you can order tests. After the test is taken you should receive the results in just 15-30 minutes, however, if you have minute traces of either Delta or Omicron it may not detect much, Omicron itself is slightly tougher to detect in general.

President Joe Biden assured the public that upwards of 500 million home kits would be issued to the American public and can be shipped quickly after placing an order on their website In addition to Biden’s COVID-19 plans, his mandates for businesses with over 100 employees to get tested weekly if unvaccinated were supposed to come into effect January 3 but later came under legal fire and were debated by the Supreme Court. The verdict of which has been denied by the Supreme Court.

Recently COVID-19’s recent developments with Omicron have a lot of people frightened, however, more worrisome, a new variant was found in Cyprus. Not even two months after Omicron was detected this strain dubbed Deltacron showed up in 25 recorded cases so far. A professor at the University of Cyprus, Leondios Kostrikis, named it Deltacron because he observed that it had a genetic structure closely resembling Omicron in Delta genomes. Symptoms for Deltacron are comparable to Omicron and Delta with no definitive difference between the other strains themselves. Not only was Deltacron recently discovered, but Israel found Flurona and not surprisingly it’s a combination of the Flu and COVID-19 both attacking in tandem. Based on the infected individual’s vaccination status and their immune system Flurona can be fatal.

As of January 3, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) authorized doses of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for 12-15-year-olds in America. Based on Israeli research the FDA also decreased the time between Pfizer boosters from six to five months for everyone over the age of 12. The Center for Disease Control has recommended boosters for 5-11 year-olds who have been immunocompromised. These extra doses for immu-nocompromised children are to be administered 28 days after their second shot. The booster for 12-15 year-olds was based on a study in Isra- el that included 6,300 teens. However, these extra doses are only for people on the Pfizer vaccine. For those who take Moderna, you should still wait six months before being boosted. As for Johnson & Johnson vaccine, advice is still unclear, however, you should still wait two months before the booster. Although this information should be taken with a grain of salt as the World Health Organization says there is no definitive evidence that healthy children need the booster.

As of late January, it seems that anti-vaccine antics have taken hold in other places besides America. Places like France, Italy, Germany, and Austria have had gatherings of citizens in protest of vaccines, most of the protests being riots. France, for example, had protests of around 105,200 un-vaxxed citizens who marched all across France with 18,000 of that total being in Paris where French officials
said they arrested 10 people. In other areas of France, police arrested 24 people and seven officers suffered minor injuries. An especially hot zone is Ottawa, Canada. Police launched numerous investigations focused on truckers and thousands of people who showed up to demon-strate their rights. While most protestors were peaceful others were particularly unruly. Some protestors were said to have urinated on the National War Memorial, danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and trashed the memorial for Terry Fox, an athlete who dedicated his life to cancer activism and research. Most of the protester’s first priority is for Trudeau to quit, with their second priority being to lift the vaccine mandates on Canada’s truckers.