Thaddeus Swanek Thaddeus Swanek
Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published

December 02, 2021

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In this week’s Path Forward event, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark discussed the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and its potential impact on the country and American business with special guest experts.

The Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to execute a responsible reopening strategy for a post-pandemic world. 

What Happened?
Last week, news broke that scientists in South Africa discovered a new variant of COVID-19, known as the Omicron variant. This variant has dozens of mutations, prompting doctors and scientists to begin searching for information about where it has spread, how transmissible it is, and how it reacts to existing vaccines. The Omicron variant has already been detected in over 20 countries around the world—and this week Dr. Fauci announced that a case was detected in California.

The CDC updated its guidance this week, recommending booster shots for all adults ages 18 and over. Meanwhile, public health agencies are continuing to monitor the situation and provide updated guidance as it becomes available.

During the hosted discussion, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Katelyn Jetelina shared their thoughts about the Omicron variant, the progress we’ve made in combating COVID-19, and the importance of getting boosters.

What the Experts Are Saying:

“This is yet another reminder that COVID-19 will not be defeated anywhere until it is defeated everywhere. This is a global challenge that requires global solutions.” – Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“The bottom line is this: We’re not back in March 2020…We have more tools, more knowledge about how to protect ourselves and our families. This is really the time for us to double down on these learnings and tools so that we can go about much of our lives at work and at home the way we all want to.” – Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

“Right now, the most important thing people can do is go out there and get boosted if you’re already vaccinated. And certainly, if you’re not vaccinated, getting vaccinated as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do.” – Vivek Murthy

“Every time a person gets vaccinated, they’re reducing the chances that a new variant will develop. In your own way, you’re not just helping yourself, you’re helping the whole community.” – Vivek Murthy

“During pregnancy, you’re at higher risk for bad outcomes if you get COVID: higher risk of hospitalization, of ICU stay, higher risk of having pre-term labor, pre-term birth. COVID is bad in pregnancy, so it’s even more important to get vaccinated in pregnancy.” – Dr. Vivek Murthy

“We have a strong hypothesis that boosters are going to play a significant role in our protection [against Omicron].” – Dr. Katelyn Jetelina

What You Can Do: Please consider joining the Rally for Recovery Commitment, a U.S. Chamber-led program encouraging every company and organization to take three basic, but important, steps to get the country back to health and American workers back to work.

And if you’re looking to get vaccinated or a booster shot, visit Vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you!

Up Next:Please join future Path Forward events to learn how to better protect your workers, customers, coworkers, and friends from the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources:

About the authors

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus Swanek

Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.

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