CORONAVIRUS: The first real world data on Omicron is here, and it’s not great. Case in point: it seems like the variant can evade some of our immunity, with scientists reporting a surge in the number of people getting coronavirus multiple times. Not totally clear what this means for vaccines. Speaking of which, a new study suggests that most covid vaccines also work as boosters, even in mix-and-match combinations. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines got the strongest immune response of the bunch. Also making headlines: the US will now require all incoming travelers to test negative one day before departure instead of three days. South Korea is hanging onto its covid restrictions a little bit longer. And Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, just exited a 107-day lockdown.
POLITICS: Austria is going through a shake-up. Back in October, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was forced to resign over allegations that he used public money to do some not-so-ethical things. But Kurz stuck around as the leader of his party. Scratch that, because yesterday, he quit that job - and shortly after, the guy who replaced him as chancellor quit, too, throwing the country back into chaos. Fast forward 24 hours, and Austria’s ruling party selected Interior Minister Karl Nehammer as the new chancellor. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, the US just teamed up with international allies to slap new sanctions on Belarus. ICYMI, the country is accused of creating a migrant crisis at the Polish border as retaliation for past sanctions.
MONEY: A lot is going on in the US when it comes to money. Here’s what you need to know. Yesterday, the Senate passed a stopgap funding bill, averting a potential gov shutdown. The gov needs constant funding to continue running, and it’s up to Congress to provide that funding. The Senate’s bill will only fund the gov through February 18, when they’ll need to figure out a longer term plan. Meanwhile, the November jobs report is here. Job growth was lower than expected, with a gain of just 210,000 - down from estimates of nearly 550,000. In some good news: the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, a 21-month low. And last but not least, some Republican-led states are offering unemployment benefits to workers who were fired or quit over vaccine mandates. Tension, high.