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China vs COVID in 2022

Omicron has arrived. It's more contagious, but less severe. Some parts of the world are even looking forward to the pandemic becoming endemic.

Not China. Xi Jinping's zero-COVID strategy has worked wonders until now, but it's unlikely to survive omicron, explains Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics

China's zero-COVID strategy will be put to its biggest test to date with the Beijing Winter Olympics approach.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, says Chinese officials think they are taking the safest approach, but that may not be enough against the more transmissible omicron variant.

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COVID immunity gap could spell disaster for China — global health expert

China’s homegrown COVID vaccines were once crucial — but they're not as effective against omicron as mRNA jabs.

What's more, with with local cases near zero for the better part of the pandemic, most Chinese have no natural immunity. That could spell disaster for Beijing as omicron surges.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, warns that the highly transmissible new variant will make zero COVID harder and harder to sustain.

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Get vaxxed for cash and prizes: vaccine incentives around the world

Governments around the world are offering creative incentives for getting a jab.

If you happen to live in New York and are one of the city’s 18% of unvaccinated residents, now might be a good time to go get jabbed. But not just because of omicron.

In late December, now former NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the city would start offering gift cards, free roller coaster rides on Coney Island and trips to the Statue of Liberty to those who get their shots. And it’s not just the Big Apple.

As infections jump, vaccination incentive programs have been brought back around the world. Officials in vaccine-hesitant Missouri have earmarked $11 million dollars for gift cards worth $100. Vermont is awarding schools with per-pupil bonuses if they hit rates higher than 85%.

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Omicron & the undoing of China's COVID strategy

Omicron is here. The bad news is that it's more contagious. The good news is that mRNA vaccines work against death and hospitalization. COVID may soon become endemic in some parts of the world.

Not in China, where Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date with omicron. Why? Because China lacks mRNA jabs, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low.

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Podcast: The problem with China’s Zero COVID strategy

Listen: Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date with omicron. Why? Because China lacks mRNA jabs, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low. A wave of lockdowns could disrupt the world's second-largest economy — just a month out from the Beijing Winter Olympics.

That could spell disaster for Beijing, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. If things get really bad, though, Huang believes China will pivot to living with the virus, especially as the cost of keeping zero COVID in the age of omicron becomes too high.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Boris Johnson losing support of UK citizens and his own party

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on Boris Johnson's tenure, COVID-19 fatigue, and China's zero-COVID policy and the Winter Olympics:

Is Boris Johnson's tenure as prime minister of the UK on the ropes?

Well, yeah, it increasingly looks like he's not going to last the year. You'd think it would be because of Brexit, you'd think it would be because the economy is going to hell in the UK. Massive inflation, quality of life is going down. No, it's none of those things. It's actually because the British citizens have a really strong sense of fair play. And Boris Johnson has now been caught in a number of different scandals, the most shambolic of which has been a party for some hundred staffers that he denied he was at. Then he said investigators would have to look into it because he didn't know that he was or wasn't in the party. Then he finally admitted it and apologized, but said, "Well, it was bad judgment, but it was really a work event." And of course this is all BS, and he has lost a lot of the support of his own party. His approval ratings are lower than Biden's. They're in the twenties right now. It increasingly looks like there will be an internal party challenge. And they'll want to get rid of him after the worst news for the economy comes out this year, so they don't have to, whoever's coming after him doesn't have to take responsibility. But it does look like Boris Johnson is near the end of his rather ill-fated tenure.

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Biden administration's COVID response likely to impact midterms

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, discusses the Biden administration's response to the omicron variant:

How is the Biden administration's response to omicron?

Well, it hasn't been great. It started with the travel ban from affected countries that was already probably behind the curve given how widespread the variant was and the administration admitted they did not see this new variant coming. They were caught flat-footed on the surge in demand for testing over the holidays. And while they first promised to make tests reimbursable by insurance, which is, of course, a real pleasure for Americans who love to deal with their insurance companies, they then said they were going to make 500 million tests available for free, but this isn't even enough to have two tests for every American. And news came out that they were instead of investing in increased manufacturing capacity, what they were doing was going to purchase surplus tests, which could exacerbate private sector shortages. But probably, more importantly, it means that the new free tests were going to arrive probably after the current surge in cases is over.

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