What happened

Shares of cruise line operator Carnival (CCL -1.37%) jumped again in early Wednesday trading after positive news emerged on the risks posed by COVID-19's omicron variant.

As of 10:50 a.m. ET today, Carnival stock was up 2.2%.

Two couples on the deck of a cruise ship.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

CNBC reported this morning that there are "glimmers of hope" surrounding omicron. Although the World Health Organization says that omicron infections are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days, and health experts believe that the variant is more transmissible than delta, CNBC also said, "Studies so far indicate that the damage [omicron] causes is likely to be at worst akin to previous variants, and possibly milder." In particular, one study out of Hong Kong suggests that "omicron infection in the lungs is significantly lower, indicating that it may have a less severe impact on those who get infected." 

Now what

It's important to note that CNBC says the Hong Kong study is "very preliminary." Also, even a weak virus that spreads quickly could result in an increase in the absolute number of severe COVID cases.  

All that being said, a study in South Africa suggests that omicron is much less severe than delta, with just 1.7% of the omicron cases doctors see in that country requiring hospitalization, versus 19% of delta cases. 

That's just the kind of good news cruise investors were waiting to hear, and it's why Carnival stock is going up today.