Disruption to life again as Omicron variant spreads fast and breakthrough cases become common

The unvaccinated remain at danger for hospitalization or death

Elizabeth Warren

With the emergence of the Omicron variant, the US has seen another spike in cases. Elizabeth Warren, US senator, and progressive Democrat tested positive, tweeting that she was vaccinated and also received her booster shot. She didn’t disclose where she might have contracted the virus and is only facing mild symptoms.

Cory Booker, another Democratic US senator for New Jersey, said in a statement on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid after feeling symptoms earlier. 

Omicron cases have affected several other countries, such as, in the Netherlands who went into lockdown on Sunday, with more impending restrictions to come for New Year’s and Christmas Eve. 

Omicron, a new variant of Covid was first detected in South Africa, reported to WHO on November 24th. On Saturday, WHO said that the Omicron cases have been doubling in areas with community transmission, however, much is unknown about the variant, including its severity. 

Several territories and countries tracked by Reuters showed that the cases are rising in 64 out of 240 countries. This also includes 12 countries showing a spike in cases than at any point during the pandemic, including the UK. 

Many of the countries are considering additional curbs due to the cases. Health  Minister, Sajid Javid, ruled out the possibility where Boris Johnson might impose more restrictions before Christmas. He said his government is “sobering” advice from scientists, observing the data to bring a balance of restriction on businesses and education.

In Italy, the government is considering further restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. After meeting with ministers due to happen on December 23rd, Prime Minister Mario Draghi could consider for people to show the negative test to access crowded places.

Germany Health Minister, Kaul Lauterbach, dismissed any lockdowns and said the only way to stop the pandemic is mandatory vaccination. He also warned that the 5th wave could not be stopped anymore. Germany banned unvaccinated people from entering non-essential organizations at the beginning of December. Cases are currently doubling in Germany every 2-4 days, a faster spread than any other variant. The country reported 29,348 cases, with 180 deaths on Sunday.

Not only governments, but the Omicron variant and basically Covid-19 has become a headache for sports organizations and professional leagues. Due to legal protocols, many athletes are being asked to quarantine. Many National Hockey Leagues (NHL) games have been postponed in the US and Canada. Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens have been shut down through the holiday break, including seven other teams; Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers,  Nashville Predators, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Blue Jackets game on Monday against Buffalo Sabres has been postponed. The Canadiens upcoming games have been postponed. Overall, 42 games have been postponed since last Monday.

The league and the NHL Players Association said in a statement, “With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting Protocols as necessary.”

Other than the NHL, the NFL has postponed 3 games. Sunday’s scheduled game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagle and between Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams has been postponed until Tuesday. A Covid-19/Reserve list has been in place, where players are put either when they have tested positive or are under quarantine after coming in contact with someone infected. As of Friday, 29 players of the Rams are placed under that list, including 23 players from The Washington Football Team. 

The NBA has postponed 5 games without any reschedule information. This includes Monday’s game between the Magic and the Toronto Raptors and Tuesday’s game between the Nets and the Washington Wizards.