Take 2: Omicron COVID-19 mutation, Winter 2021 power grid

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nations relevant news for the community.

Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Omicron: Scientists identified a new strand of COVID-19 in Africa Thursday. Since then, 19 other countries confirmed cases with this new variant. “CDC is working to modify the current global testing order for travel as we learn more about the Omicron variant,” said CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald. On Friday, the World Health Organization marked the Omicron COVID-19 mutation as potentially dangerous

Significance: Biden is planning to enforce stricter international travel restrictions starting Nov. 29. As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven oth]’er countries,” Biden said in response to the Omicron variant. In addition, all incoming travelers to the United States must take a COVID test no more than one day prior to travel. Five states reported cases of the Omicron Variant today.

Governor Greg Abbott claims:  Gov. Abbott claimed “the lights will stay on” in preparations for an upcoming Texas freeze. During the February, 2021 storm leaving millions of homes without heat, clean water, and electricity, the Texas power grid was unable to withstand the freezing temperatures. We promised not to leave session until we fixed these problems, and I am proud to say that we kept that promise. These laws will improve the reliability of the electric grid and help ensure these problems never happen again,” said Governor Abbott. Governor Abbott signed multiple laws which require the winterization of the power grid and better prediction of energy demand.

Significance: The Texas power grid failure directly caused a decline in the economy, damage to infrastructure, and hypothermia deaths. The previous storm cost between 80 to 130 million dollars based on “a result of power loss, physical infrastructure damage and forgone economic opportunities,” according to comptroller Glen Hegar. In February, 210 people died because of complications with the power grid. If Texans experience below freezing temperatures this coming winter, the grid may not be able to provide adequate heat and electricity.  This issue is a priority for many Texans.