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Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Biden Says Not Concerned About US Stock Market Plunge as He 'Expected It'

Biden Says Not Concerned About US Stock Market Plunge as He 'Expected It'

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he is not concerned about the plunge in the US stock market and he had expected it over concerns related to the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

"I expected it," Biden told reporters when asked if he is worried about the stock market plunge.

Earlier on Friday, the US stock market fell 900 points over concerns about the new variant of the novel coronavirus detected in southern Africa.

The US Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 905 points lower, losing 2.5%, as all sectors slid sharply into negative. The S&P 500 slipped 2.27%, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.23%, according to CNBC.

Global oil prices also plummeted, with the benchmark blend of oil, Brent, losing 11.26% to slip from $82.26 to around $72.84 per barrel and the American benchmark blend, WTI, losing 12.57% to reach $68.16 per barrel as of 16:52 GMT.

The new variant, B.1.1.529, is reported to carry an exceptionally high number of mutations, many of them in spike proteins, the main target of COVID-19 vaccines, potentially making it even more transmissible than the "delta" strain, which previously became globally dominant.

“We don’t know a lot about the variant, except that it is of great concern, it seems to spread rapidly,” Biden told reporters on Friday.

"[F]or those Americans who are fully vaccinated against severe COVID illness – fortunately, for the vast majority of our adults -- the best way to strengthen your protection is to get a booster shot, as soon as you are eligible," Biden said in a press release. "For those not yet fully vaccinated: get vaccinated today."

On Friday, the US announced new travel restrictions for foreign travelers from eight countries in southern Africa due to the emergence of the new coronavirus variant. Simultaneously, other countries announced the suspension of travel from southern Africa, including the UK, Turkey and EU members.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new variant as one of concern and dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.


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