1) U.S. jobless claims to remain near pandemic low
First-time unemployment filings are expected to rise slightly for the week ended December 25 at 207,000 compared to 205,000 claims a week prior. Still, the reading remains near pre-pandemic lows which signals for a recovery in the labor market as high demand for workers pours into the new year.
2) U.S. slashed omicron’s prevalence to 23%, Fauci predicted a peak in late Jan.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its alarming number put out on December 18 that said the omicron was then a dominant strain at 73% of total cases, slashing that estimate to 23%. The new study from CDC shows that while omicron remains the dominant variant, delta — a more severe strain — is still a worrisome driver behind the current surge.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that the omicron may hit its peak in the U.S. by the end of January.
3) WHO says it’s hard to determine severity as the strain has yet to spread to vulnerability
The World Health Organization said that the Covid-19 omicron variant has not spread widely among the vulnerable population — elderly — yet.
“We all want this disease to be milder, but the population it affected so far is the younger. How it behaves in the elderly population, the vulnerable — we don’t know yet,” said Dr. Abdi Mahamud, the WHO’s incident manager for Covid.
“It’s too early to determine,” he added.
4) Shares of Evergrande fell after missing another coupon payments
Shares of China Evergrande Group plunged on Thursday, wiping earlier gains this week, after a report of missing offshore coupon payments due on Tuesday worth $255 million for its June 2023 and 2025 notes.