The new Omicron variant of the novel-coronavirus is, at first glance, pretty frightening.
With more mutations compared to other variants—“lineages” is the scientific term—Omicron has the potential to be more transmissible. And as with all new lineages, there’s a chance it might partially evade the COVID-19 vaccines, potentially thwarting to some degree our best defense against the virus and setting us back as the pandemic enters its third year.
Startling headlines and cable-news chyrons interrupted the weekend. “Omicron” trended on social media. Some pundits predicted doom. The U.S. stock market dropped more than two points in a single day—its worst dip since February. (Stocks have since recovered.)