The World Health Organization admits there has yet to be a single death from the Omicron variant, but that hasn't stopped some governments–especially in Europe–from using it as another reason to enact mandatory vaccinations.
Here in the U.S., Omicron cases are now confirmed in at least 17 states.
"We have several dozen cases and we're following them closely. And we are, every day, hearing about more and more probable cases," said CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
But so far, Omicron does not seem to be dangerous. Initial studies show it has a similar genetic structure to the common cold, making it more transmissible. But in South Africa, where Omicron first emerged, hospitalizations have not increased significantly.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, "We really need to be careful before we make any determinations, but thus far the signals are a bit encouraging regarding the severity."
Peter McGinn of Minnesota tested positive for Omicron after a visit to New York City.
He had been fully vaccinated and received a booster.
"I felt kinda tired. I felt bad for about a day. I did my absolute best to follow the guidelines, I had my mask on the entire time," McGinn said.
COVID guidelines and restrictions have become a significant issue in Europe, where some nations are requiring citizens to be vaccinated. And that has sparked massive and sometimes violent demonstrations across the continent.
At a protest in Brussels, a Belgian woman said, "I don't agree with the mandatory vaccinations because these vaccines, I don't think they're great yet. "
A Spanish protestor in Barcelona said, "The dead from COVID-19 are mostly vaccinated people instead of non-vaccinated. That's in all hospitals." Another said, "We don't want the COVID-19 passport. We want freedom. It's a human right. We don't want vaccines, neither for us or our children. This is a genocide."
Demonstrators march during a protest against coronavirus measures in Brussels, Belgium, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Austria has announced it plans to become the first country in Europe to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory. Germany plans on making vaccinations compulsory for some jobs.
European Union leader Ursula von der Leyen says it's time for the E.U. to discuss a Europe-wide vaccine mandate.
And in Sweden, increasing numbers of people have implanted microchips with proof of their vaccination into their hands since the country announced new COVID restrictions.
When scanned, all of a person's information about their vaccination status is shown on a reader or phone. It's also a way to link devices implanted in your body to the Internet.