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Political Rewind: More cases of the omicron variant found in U.S.; effects on travel, schools in Ga.

Credit: Sam Bermas-Dawes, GPB News

The Panelists:

Nicole Carr — Reporter, ProPublica

Dr. Jodie Guest — Vice chair of the department of epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Andy Miller — Editor, Georgia Health News

Patricia Murphy — Political writer and columnist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Breakdown:

1. The origins of the omicron variant

The World Health Organization named the omicron variant as a variant of concern last week. WHO says there is no evidence to suggest that symptoms linked to this variant are different from those caused by other variants. 

  • At least nine cases of the omicron variant have now been identified in five states across the U.S. — Thursday, health officials in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York confirmed cases. The first case in the U.S. was found in California on Wednesday.  

    2. How the omicron variant could affect kids, schools 

    The latest data from Georgia Department of Public Health shows young children and teenagers still lag behind older ages groups in vaccinations.

    More than 8% of kids ages 5 to 9 have one shot of the vaccine.

  • Meanwhile, more than 31% of children ages 10 to 14 have at least one dose.   

  • Data collection is posing a real challenge to schools, ProPublica's Nicole Carr said on today's show: 

    "You have to really be inside to understand how much of a toll keeping track of this thing in the schools is taking on our teachers, our parents [and] professionals who are reporting data and trying to keep seating charts and trying to keep track of things that the schools can then move on and report to the state."

    3. Holiday travel and the omicron variant  

    At the time of this writing on Friday afternoon, no cases of the omicron variant were reported in Georgia.  

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering COVID-19 testing to passengers arriving into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on flights from Johannesburg, South Africa.


    Copyright 2021 Georgia Public Broadcasting

    Bill Nigut has been a program host and producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting since November, 2013. He currently hosts “Two Way Street,” a show that features long-form conversations with authors, artists, chefs, scientists and other creative people who have fascinating stories to tell. He is host and producer of “Political Rewind,” a twice-weekly political roundtable show featuring some of Georgia’s best-informed insiders weighing in on the big state and national political stories.
    Sam joined the Political Rewind team in 2019. He graduated American University in 2015 with a degree in journalism and spent time in North Carolina as a reporter at WCHL in Chapel Hill.
    Sarah Kallis
    Natalie Mendenhall