Congress and President Joe Biden, so far, have been reluctant in giving more stimulus checks. However, the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, may necessitate the need of additional coronavirus stimulus checks. Biden has already called the new virus variant a “cause for concern.”
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Omicron is the newest COVID-19 variant that scientists recently identified. This variant was first identified in South Africa and the WHO (World Health Organization) has designated it as a concern as it is possibly more transmissible than earlier COVID-19 strains.
Though more information on this new variant is awaited, early evidence suggests it could be even more contagious and spread even faster than the delta variant. Such concerns over this new variant have already given jitters to the global financial markets.
Several countries, including the U.S., have already announced precautionary measures to slow the spread of Omicron. In response to Omicron’s threat, Biden has already suspended travel from South Africa.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. infectious disease expert, also raised concern on the new variant, saying people should be prepared to do "anything and everything" to slow down the spread of this new variant. Though Fauci didn’t favor lockdowns as of now, he did say that Americans need to "prepare for the worst."
Even Biden doesn’t see a need for new lockdowns as of now “if people are vaccinated and wear their masks.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also believes that the new variant could pose a risk to the economy.
“Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions,” Powell said before his testimony in the Senate earlier this week
People Demanding More Stimulus Checks
Omicron isn’t a threat for now, but if it becomes one and authorities come up with more restrictions, it could slow the economic recovery and revenue for businesses. Such a scenario may necessitate the need of an additional coronavirus stimulus check.
Meanwhile, several Americans have already begun calling for more stimulus checks because of Omicron.
“Omicron?!?!?! I think this calls for another stimulus check,” one Twitter user said.
Even prior to Omicron, people were demanding more stimulus checks. A Change.org petition asking for regular stimulus checks as long as the pandemic lasts, has already gotten almost 3 million signatures.
People may be demanding more stimulus payments, but only time will tell whether Omicron will force Biden to send out another coronavirus stimulus check or not.
So far, Congress has sent three stimulus checks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two stimulus checks were sent last year under Donald Trump, and one this year under Biden. Also, Biden expanded the child tax credit and the way people receive it.