Omicron Variant and its Effects on the Global Economy

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Reese Kent, Staff Writer

The Omicron variant was first detected in late 2021 as an easily transmittable variant of the COVID-19 virus. Upon initial discovery, not much was known about the Omicron variant, and initial reports found it to be highly contagious and prone to spreading quickly. This created a global scare for governments and people as they prepared for another wave of COVID-19. In some European countries, New Years celebrations were given limitations to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. 

The European economy displayed less negative impact from the Omicron variant, which was probably caused by the precautionary measures placed for New Years and the larger vaccinated population in Europe. This is a large shift from the last large wave of COVID-19, which left countries like Italy in shambles during the height of the pandemic.

“We think the economic hit will prove short-lived and will be mostly made up for in the months ahead,” said Senior Global Economist at Capital Economics, Simon MacAdam.

The Omicron variant created the first employment decline in the United States since the height of the pandemic in July 2020. On Dec. 1, 2021, officials detected the first case of the Omicron variant within the United States, which caused panic throughout the United States economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 900 points that same day as investors fled during this COVID scare. Even though the Omicron variant seems to be less harmful than the normal string of COVID-19, investors swiftly pulled out in fear of another global stock market plummet. The CDC announced later that month in December, 2021, that they would be reducing the recommended amount of time for quarantine from 10 days to 5 days for the Omicron variant after close examination. 

Most of these global economic setbacks were caused by COVID-related absences at the workplace. Although the recommended quarantine period was shortened for the Omicron variant, the impact was still there. Economists predicted in January 2022 that Omicron will not have any lasting effects on the Eurozone’s healing economy, and should blow over in the coming months. United States retail sales rose 8.5% from Nov. 1st to Christmas compared to 2020, even in the height of the Omicron variant. The Omicron variant seems to be causing little damage worldwide as new variant scares become the norm around the world.