Let’s talk about omicron.
(If you’d rather not, scroll right down to the P.S. for something beautiful.)
Since the first known cases of COVID-19 were detected in China, we've seen a number of notable mutations as the virus moved across the world. Some, like beta and gamma, didn’t end up being a huge deal.1
Others, like delta, spread rapidly and caused new waves of infection.
Now we have another variant on our hands: omicron. And it could be a serious one.
Unsurprisingly, markets reacted badly to the news last Friday and gave us our worst market day for the year.2
Why? The short trading day and lack of overall volume over the holiday break gave the selling pressure greater impact on the market than it might have had under normal conditions.
We’ve seen that pattern before and it’s worth keeping in your back pocket: bad news over a holiday often leads to outsized market reactions.
Is omicron dangerous?
Well, we don't know yet. And we won't know for several weeks until scientists can determine how the variant will respond to current vaccines and treatments.
If it's more virulent, it could have delta-level impacts on travel, hospitality, and other parts of the economy.
It could also turn out to be a tiny bump in the road.
We just don’t know yet.
The market is laser-focused on omicron news so we can expect rocky times until the uncertainty clears (or something else takes over the chatter).
So, what can we do?
Rather than try to predict the unknowable or speculate wildly without enough information, let's do something else instead.
Let's take a deep breath, step back, and focus on some ground truths:
Everyone is tired of this pandemic and ready to move on. But the pandemic's not done yet.
We will continue to see COVID-19 variants. Most will fade into the background. Some will be more serious.
New vaccines and treatments are continually being developed and released.
We have been adapting to the virus for nearly two years and we'll continue to get better at it.
Life is a gift and every day is extraordinary in some way. Let's cherish that.
Hopefully, we'll look back in a few months and forget omicron ever hit the headlines.