Here we are nearly two years into this. Some thought: the vaccines will help, because at the very least they’ll calm the fears of the most irrational.
Instead, the vaccines have been used as a weapon to punish, demonize, and even dehumanize dissidents.
And now a new “variant of concern” is here, and plenty of countries that we were solemnly told had “followed the science,” and if only Americans had listened to them we’d be doing, better, etc., are now headed back into lockdown and the adoption of vaccine passports.
(So far, by the way, the numbers for societies with vaccine passports have generally worsened, not improved, but that must be because they haven’t vaccine passported hard enough!)
The South African doctor who first identified the variant reported that there are so far no known deaths from it, and that symptoms have been mild to moderate.
But the hysteria went into overdrive anyway.
Interestingly, though, not everyone from Lockdown Central has bought into that hysteria.
For instance, Brown University’s Ashish Jha, who’s been pretty nasty toward skeptics of government interventions like you and me, had this to say on Twitter:
“Is it possible #OmicronVariant sets us back to square one? No. We have lots of tests that’ll detect Omicron. We have therapies that’ll work. Our vaccines MAY take a hit but will still provide some (may be a lot) protection. We are in a MUCH better place. This isn’t March 2020.”
Even CNN is reporting on academics who caution against panic.
For instance, Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University, speaking of Omicron’s mutations, says: “The ones that might affect transmissibility, I mean, I’m just not seeing a whole lot that would give it a real strong advantage over Delta. That’s really the big question. You know, when it gets into a population that has Delta, is it going to out-compete or not out-compete?”
Trevor Bedford is a genome scientist and epidemiologist at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. “Given that Omicron lacks so many of the non-spike mutations that have seemed to contribute to Delta’s increased fitness,” he writes, “I wouldn’t be surprised if its intrinsic transmissibility is similar to Gamma.”
One thing we do know:
Applying the same interventions (lockdowns, more masking, etc.) to this new variant that have done nothing to stop previous iterations is a fool’s errand.
And with the protests occurring around the world, and some U.S. employers backing away from mandates, could we be turning a corner?
The prospect of endless boosters also doesn’t bode well for the hysterics. They are losing even some of their original enthusiasts over that, and over mandates for children.