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Key questions about the omicron variant

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Good morning everybody and I hope everyone is okay this Monday. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, those of you that celebrate. Of course, pretty difficult news over the weekend, and even this morning, the World Health Organization, referring to the new variant omicron of COVID as a very high global risk. And when I hear those words, obviously we get moving at Eurasia Group, a firm very much concerned about that. And indeed, this is in terms of new news about this pandemic that we've all been living with now for almost two years, this is some of the most concerning new headlines that we've seen thus far.

There are some things we know and some things we don't know, there are three things we need to know, if you want to really assess what the omicron risk represents for us and for the world: rates of infection, sickness and mortality and vaccine effectiveness. We only have strong answers about the first, which is we know that this is a lot more infectious as a variant than Delta has been, which itself was much more infectious than the original virus. And that is a very serious problem. I've spoken with a lot of the epidemiologists we know about this over the weekend, they're all extremely concerned about that.

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Concerns increase over Russian military activity near Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What are the Russians up to with Ukraine?

Well, we don't know. But what we do know is that they are concentrating quite substantial military forces, moving towards the borders with Ukraine at the same time as they are de facto stopping the diplomatic dialogue with them. Very strong message coming from Washington and from the European capitals that they should abstain from early military operation. But you never know. It is a fairly sort of worrying situation.

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