What We Should Do Against Omicron Instead Of Travel Bans

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Uganda loses key airport to China lenders after loan default: Report Entebbe is the nation’s only international airport.

  • The U.S. will allow dogs vaccinated against rabies in the U.S. to return to the country (HT: @crucker)

  • Customs announced that they seized $23,000 in currency from a couple who underestimated how much cash they were carrying. The announcement also flagged a separate seizure of 3,738 glass bongs from China headed to Los Angeles. Priorities.


    Credit: Customs and Border Protection

  • Virgin Atlantic is matching status, including their top tier but that doesn’t get you much and you have to have a paid ticket booked to take advantage of it.

  • Former FDA head: Southern Africa travel bans are counterproductive ‘ready, fire, aim’

    Indeed there are better approaches.

    This variant is already spreading, there are reasons for concern, and it’s been found in the countries where you would expect them to know that there’s a new variant spreading (i.e. they actually sequence for it). We don’t yet know how much more infectious it really is, whether it’ll become dominant, whether it causes more or less serious disease (don’t put too much stock yet into claims from South Africa that it’s less serious based on limited data sets about young patients) or how much it will reduce effectiveness of vaccines still targeted at the original Wuhan strain.

    The most effective tool we have now is boosters, we need to get Paxlovid approved and offer clinical guidance on fluvoxamine, do more genomic surveillance and eliminate regulatory barriers to variant-specific versions of vaccines already in use assuming reduced efficacy from the original formulation. Under-$2 tests should be ubiquitous to determine current infectiousness.

  • Is ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ eating the world?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. “The Ugandan government has lost its major airport to China for failing to repay a loan, the African media reported…. President Yoweri Museveni had sent a delegation to Beijing hoping to renegotiate the toxic clauses. The visit was unsuccessful as China authorities refused to allow any alteration in the original terms of the deal.”

    China is doing this all over Africa, South America and Asia. They KNOW these countries won’t be able to pay their loans back and they will end up owning and controlling these strategic ports and other properties.

    The silver lining might be that these seizures will wake up the rest of the world to the Chinese and their scumbag, used car dealer tactics.

  2. “The silver lining might be that these seizures will wake up the rest of the world to the Chinese and their scumbag, used car dealer tactics.”

    Just the opposite–the world will wake up to the ingenuity of the Chinese in being able to control worldwide, strategic ports and other properties without ever having invaded or fought a war.

    The Chinese weapon of choice is debt.

  3. Travel bans after a new variant is detected aren’t accomplishing anything, since the variant has already traveled all over the world. We should just shut down international travel, even if it means that douchebags like Gottlieb can’t fly around the world in their private jets. They can go to Hawaii instead.

  4. You sir don’t know the first thing about public health. The omicron variant is much ado about nothing at best, fear mongering antiscientific nonsense at best. How about sticking to what you know best instead of talking out of your you know what?

  5. Manuel – this blog is about a lot of things and you read it apparently. You are going to get travel plus a lot of other stuff.

  6. Is this the 47th or 48th variant? Not that it matters since I haven’t had a flu shot since 1980, I just want to know which meme to look for while I’m laughing my ass off at all you “the sky is falling” chickens.

  7. Manuel says:

    “You sir don’t know the first thing about public health. The omicron variant is much ado about nothing at best, fear mongering antiscientific nonsense at best. How about sticking to what you know best instead of talking out of your you know what?”

    OK, I give up. What the F do you know about it? Why are you smarter than epidemiologists around the world? Now I got it. You stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last nite!

  8. Look at those APRs. Then look at 1-year BTC, ETH, etc. performance. Free money for those who have the gonads.

  9. South Africa has a surplus of vaccines. Their problem is convincing people to take them, like the USA which is only 59% vaccinated.
    Closing borders will at best…Give countries a couple of weeks delay. Most likely not.
    If 80% of people were vaccinated, this would likely not be an issue.
    If you truly think this is nothing, buy the stock market at the dip. Could be profitable.
    We should have answers within the next 10-14 days, once the data comes in.

  10. Much politics are involved.

    The Omicron variant was supposed to be called the Xi variant, but they skipped that Greek letter because President Xi of China shares the same name. Such respect was not afforded to Delta Airlines.

    Democrats called Trump’s travel ban as xenophobic but now Trump’s man slams Biden’s travel ban.

    The non-political way would be to have a travel ban as a temporary measure until the variant is better understood. The ban would also include quarantine of US citizens coming back. As of now, US citizens can bring in variants with no quarantine needed.

  11. The world has done its dead level best to permanently cripple the Southern African Safari and tourism industry. I hope they survive until I can get back in April.

  12. Additional quarantine protocols? Quarantine upon arrival might as well be a travel ban in my opinion. Supposed to leave for Europe in 12 days but my finger is on the cancel button should quarantine upon the arrival spread. Not doing that under any circumstances.

  13. The world is a jumbled mess..

    Its leaders resemble children in a grammar school schoolyard.

  14. Manuel…..nobody knows and that’s what the experts are saying. Nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution for now and seeing where this is at in a couple weeks. One they for sure is you definitely don’t know what you are talking about and apparently never learned from the errors Fox News made when Covid first hit.

  15. @DanG — What stock market dip? The market is flat for November. Maybe there will be an actual dip, but right now, not so much. Wake me up when the SP500 begins with a 3.

  16. All I know is one of the involved drug company’s stock (I can’t spell the name correctly so I won’t try) went from $6.00 in November 2019 to $329 last week. Follow the money. There is also NO evidence that masks curb anything.

  17. Yes lets all listen to Scott Gottlieb a guy whose been in the pocket of big pharma his entire career and is on the board of Pfizer among others and is not even an epidemiologist. No thanks.

    “We don’t yet know how much more infectious it really is, whether it’ll become dominant,” Well being that case numbers in south africa were pretty low up until like a week or two ago with a bae of 200 cases a day and now they are putting up 2800+ cases a day and the reporting is 90% of those appear to be this variant I think there is enough initial evidence to suggest that we should err on the side of caution and assume that it is highly contagious because that is what all the initial evidence is telling us. This wait and see until it is too late is frickin garbage. There is no time to wait and see. This is how the US blew it the first time with the pandemic and cost countless lives. Do everything we can now to slow this thing and buy the public health people time to sort out what is actually going on.

    The suggestion that the answer is boosters is just a joke. One, because we need time to study this variant and see if the vaccine works on it and two, because the anti vaxxers won’t even take the initial dose let alone the booster. The fact that we are seeing the same responses from governments around the world to this suggests strongly to me that maybe the opinion of a travel blogger without a public health background is misinformed.

  18. The US requirement for declaration of import/export of cash doesn’t get triggered until $10k, but splitting $20k between husband and wife is an invitation for trouble as the de facto declaration-free allowance is not effectively combinable.

  19. As usual GUWonder is right. If traveling together as a family group the cap is still 10k
    If traveling separately on different flights (and ? times or ?airports) then it is 10k per person

  20. I wonder if any of the people posting above about a single loan going into default have ever heard of the South American Debt crisis of 1982 in which almost every South American’s government defaulted on sovereign debt (in significant part due to US inflation) and left US banks owning a ton of government assets (i.e. Mexico’s PEMEX oil revenues) owned by US banks. This is small potatoes.

  21. We really would be a lot better off if we adopted the Vaccine Passport like Europe has.
    The Unvaaxed are not permitted into shared closed public places, nor heavily populated open places like football stadiums. IMHO the most important thing we need now is the hoe rapid tests sold cheap, like $2 a test. Plus the Federal Govt should send out 3 tests to every man, woman and child.

    @Bill made the best comment. Travel bans will buy us a few more weeks until we have more data. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

    3x Vaaxed and I am sick and tired of Covid. Still wearing the mask going inside closed public spaces, which I hate doing but I do it anyway. Bill is right, without even a full set of data we can see by the exploding cases in South Africa this is a very contagious varient. Institute the travel bans, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

  22. @olderwoman You are not tired of covid if you keep wearing a mask and got a 3rd shot. I suspect that every time you think about putting on a mask or getting another shot, you get the warm, moist tingles in your loins.

  23. I feel bad for the Vax + mask puppets still living scared… NOT…

    I moved on 14 months ago. We’re lining the pockets of pharma. All politicians repub and Dem controlled by pharma (maybe a few true outliers).

    I’m not anti-Vax for those of you waiting to jump in. I’m simply of the mindset that life is too short to live scared and to not enjoy. I do the best I can to protect myself and move forward – 2 years of life wasted?? Yikes… time > $ and it isn’t close.

    You couldn’t pay me millions to sit on the sidelines for 2 years.

    It’s been a true blessing to spend more time with family and not to have to hop on a plane every week for a biz meeting. Grateful and enjoying every moment while I’m here…

    I feel my perspective is extremely reasonable, but I know I’ll be called out and deemed inconsiderate of others… can’t please em all… learned a long time ago to care for myself and my family and largely ignore the bullshit from media, politicians and the peanut gallery.

  24. Sooo, CBP catches a couple leaving the country with about 15% more money than they should have and steals almost all of it? Charming. Then, because they need further illustrations of how they’re keeping democracy safe, they crow about how they seized a bunch of bongs going to L.A. where pot is legal. Robbing couples and protecting stoners from themselves? I sure feel safer now that I know that our security is in the hands of these folks.

  25. A virus is going to do what a virus is going to do. Mutate and produce more quicker than Big Pharma can pump out new “vaccines”. I use the term “vaccine” loosely.

    I consider my vaccination status to be a highly personal matter between my doctors and immediate family and it is NO ONE else’s business. I personally believe the “vaccine passport” such as is used in parts of Europe and some Canadian Provinces is a precursor to the Mark of the Beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

  26. Rename the new variant (Omnicrom which has cold and flu like symptoms for many) Xi and MSM will ignore anything deemed to be harmful about it.

  27. I love to visit this site every few months and see if the sheep are still buying this charade. Of course, they are.

  28. considering that the Dr who found the “new variant” says it is much milder than any of the others. Do nothing more, especially since there have never been tests developed to discern one variant from another. Keep living in fear people – death is certain and you can’t stop it only delay it!!

  29. JT@older woman I totally agree with her. Not only is she protecting herself, family and friends she is also being social responsible. If everyone would get vaccinated including booster shots, wear a mask until we have herd immunity this all would be behind us. Are you aware that there are millionaires making money (I mean a lot of it) off this pandemic? There have been millionaires who have become billionaires because of the Corona Virus. I have also done exactly what she has done…….What if people refused to get the smallpox vaccine? Have you seen pictures of people with small pox? Perhaps you may want to want to look at this website……https://www.immunize.org/photos/smallpox-photos.asp

  30. JT@older woman I totally agree with her. Not only is she protecting herself, family and friends she is also being social responsible. If everyone would get vaccinated including booster shots, wear a mask until we have herd immunity this all would be behind us. Are you aware that there are millionaires making money (I mean a lot of it) off this pandemic? There have been millionaires who have become billionaires because of the Corona Virus. I have also done exactly what she has done…….What if people refused to get the smallpox vaccine? Have you seen pictures of people with small pox? Perhaps you may want to want to look at this website……https://www.immunize.org/photos/smallpox-photos.asp

  31. @Flight Nurse The difference is the smallpox vaccine actually works. No need for boosters and no morphing into new smallpox variant.

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