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What the COVID-19 Omicron variant potentially means for Las Vegas

Omicron variant
Posted at 8:18 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-27 13:42:56-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The United States and a number of other countries are again imposing some travel restrictions with the news of another COVID-19 variant.

“I’m not surprised,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ng, a physician at Ng Family Health Care. “This is a virus and viruses mutate. And so, this is kind of the natural process.”

The pandemic is nearly two years old and the most recent COVID-19 variant is called Omicron.

“The most susceptible are still the younger population who are not vaccinated,” said Ng. “And that’s how they detected this new variant.”

RELATED: Omicron variant: WHO says new strain of COVID-19 is a 'variant of concern'

The World Health Organization says it is still being studied and has been found in travelers to Belgium, China, Israel, and several countries in southern Africa. The CDC says no cases have been reported in the US as of now.

"CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country," a statement says. "We expect Omicron to be identified quickly if it emerges in the U.S."

“I’m concerned about it,” said Ng. “I will keep an eye on it. But I’m not going to let it interfere with my daily routine.”

Stocks also took a hit, with the S&P 500 recording its worst day since February over a fear of the unknown.

“Investors like certainty,” said Jason Baucom, a financial advisor with Budin Group. “And this presents an opportunity for there not to be certainty immediately. So, the reactive approach is to take your money off the table and put it back when you’re comfortable.”

Local gaming also reporting losses -- Boyd, MGM, Caesars, Las Vegas, Wynn and Red Rock Resorts all were down between $1-$5.

Economically, Baucom says it could amount to a blip on the radar. But it is better to be safe than sorry.

“We’re better prepared for it going forward, but still, any minor setback could turn into a major one,” he said.

To date, Johns Hopkins data says there have been 776,321 COVID-19 deaths in the US.

“There are places in the world this is going to happen,” said Ng. “The only thing we can do as doctors is hope that patients get vaccinated as soon as possible.”