The Omicron Covid-19 variant is a crucial test for Biden

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Dean Obeidallah, a erstwhile attorney, is the big of SiriusXM radio's regular programme "The Dean Obeidallah Show" and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed successful this commentary are his own. View much opinion articles connected CNN.

Dean Obeidallah


There are much questions than answers astir the caller Covid-19 variant known arsenic Omicron archetypal identified Thursday by South Africa's wellness minister. Still, with the World Health Organization announcing Friday Omicron is simply a "variant of concern" and vaccine shaper Moderna adding the variant poses "a important imaginable risk," alarm bells are sounding successful the United States and crossed the satellite astir what it whitethorn mean for each of us.

    This caller variant whitethorn simply beryllium a continuation of the aforesaid conflict against Covid-19 that began successful aboriginal 2020. But vaccine makers accidental there's a anticipation our vaccines won't beryllium effective against Omicron. Are we astatine hazard of going backmost to quadrate 1 against the pandemic?

      While we await much details from scientists, this is the clip for President Joe Biden and his medication to springiness a maestro people successful effectual and honorable enactment successful the look of a imaginable caller crisis.

        Biden has already stepped up connected that front, announcing conscionable hours aft South Africa's wellness curate released accusation astir the caller variant, flights person been banned from 7 African nations wherever the variant has been spreading (in contrast, successful aboriginal 2020, Former President Donald Trump waited until aft 45 different countries had banned flights from China — fixed the microorganism dispersed determination — to enforce a prohibition of flights from that federation into the United States).

        From here, Biden should clasp regular property briefings to update Americans connected caller developments, and, arsenic helium did erstwhile helium archetypal took office, these coronavirus briefings should beryllium led by aesculapian experts who tin supply scientifically-based accusation to a federation anxious to know. But Biden should beryllium determination himself to amusement Americans helium is successful charge, and connected apical of this. In a crisis, Americans look to the President for leadership. In fact, successful March 2020, astatine the outset of the pandemic, past President Trump saw his support ratings rise arsenic Americans rallied astir him successful the look of a crisis.

          Omicron variant puts a chill connected  Thanksgiving weekend

          But the bump successful the polls for Trump was short-lived. No uncertainty Trump's plummeting support ratings were caused by his spewing lies and misinformation astir the virus, adjacent suggesting ingesting "disinfectants" to decision it. Trump besides chose to exemplary unsafe behaviour during the pandemic by virtually mocking radical for wearing masks and repeatedly holding events in usurpation of societal distancing guidelines astatine a clip erstwhile determination were nary vaccines to support us.

          PolitiFact summed up good Trump's wide connection astir the deadly pandemic: "The menace to your wellness was overhyped to wounded the governmental fortunes of the president."

          Even though Trump is retired of office, we got a reminder Friday of Trumpian-style lies astir the microorganism from Trump's erstwhile advisor Stephen Miller. While connected Fox News, Miller declared if Trump were inactive successful office, "We would already person modified vaccines that woody with the caller variant."

          Obviously, that's a lie. The variant was lone archetypal announced connected Thursday and vaccine manufacturers explained Friday it volition instrumentality astir 2 weeks to survey Omicron. From there, if each goes well, it volition instrumentality astir six weeks to accommodate their vaccines accordingly, with the anticipation being 100 days aboriginal a "reformulated" vaccine tin beryllium rolled out.

          If Trump were successful bureau — fixed his way grounds — it's acold much apt helium would person dismissed the caller variant arsenic "fake news," oregon astatine slightest downplayed, if helium felt it would wounded him oregon the GOP politically.

          But the barroom for Biden's enactment is not — and cannot beryllium — simply being amended than a failed, one-term President.

            Biden shouldn't beryllium hesitant successful delivering the hard truths to the public. He should besides denote plans present astir however helium would rapidly present the caller Omicron-tweaked vaccine shots into arms, if needed, overmuch the mode his medication did with the archetypal vaccines aft helium took office. (Reminder: When Biden took office, the Trump medication was averaging a small implicit 700,000 vaccines injected a day. Biden expanded that to averaging implicit 3 cardinal vaccines a time wrong a fewer months earlier the numbers declined).

            This is not astir authorities but redeeming lives, and our economy. This is simply a clip for President Biden to amusement Americans what effective, science-driven, compassionate enactment looks like. It's a situation similar this that explains wherefore Americans chose to elite Joe Biden arsenic president.

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