Opinion: CJ Opinion

Omicron: Choosing pragmatism over panic and fear

Our response to the Omicron variant can go a couple of ways. We can remain calm and let this latest strain run its course. Or, as Democrats and mainstream media are wont to do, we can overreact and spread fear.

I’d like to think Americans, in general, have had enough, and that they’ll hold politicians accountable should they again turn toward lockdowns and suppressions. But then, every day I watch scores of people, the now-ubiquitous masks plastered to their faces. Indoors and out, in places where the closest human is yards away. These people are displaying freedom of choice, which is great, as long as they keep in mind it’s their choice and not mine.

Anthony Fauci, President’s Biden’s top COVID adviser, in a town hall on CNN this week encouraged fully vaccinated people to mask up indoors, reports Fox News.

Be prudent and careful, Fauci said, according to Fox. 

“And one of the things that’s very clear is that if you have to be in an indoor congregate setting in which you’re unsure of what the vaccination status is of the people around you, wear a mask,” he said. 

To be clear, that’s advice. It’s not an order, even though many people will take it as such. Further, the fear-mongering leftist media and locally elected officials will take any opportunity to veer toward panic. Sometimes it appears these people delight in the act of snatching away personal freedoms and liberties. In placing figurative barriers for businesses to hurdle. Can’t make it? Sorry, they say. But, hey, stay safe.

Gov. Roy Cooper and health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen are taking a more measured approach to Omicron, and I, for one, appreciate that. Viruses, as such, evolve and mutate, which is why the vaccine composition is reviewed each year and updated, as needed, based on which influenza viruses are making people sick, the extent to which those viruses are spreading, and how well the previous season’s vaccine protects against those viruses, the Centers for Disease Control says on its website.

“All  viruses change over time,” Cohen said recently, “and COVID 19 is no exception.” 

The efficacy of vaccines, too, wanes over time, so thus the need for COVID boosters, and that annual flu shot. Cooper and Cohen are right when they say vaccines are the best way to get off this frantic pandemic highway. Omicron will continue to spread, globally and in the U.S. For now, Biden is pushing vaccines and subsequent boosters, and on Thursday, Dec. 2, announced plans to expand COVID testing requirements, most notably for travelers, as well increased access to free tests and booster shots.

Here’s hoping he goes no further.

Biden must resist the urge to impose lockdowns, even as countries such as Germany makes captives of its unvaccinated citizens and throws its businesses to the curb. Austria has issued a vaccine mandate, and Germany and other socialistic European nations will soon follow suit. Both countries have relatively low vaccination rates, so that largely explains the recent COVID surge. Yet such draconian mandates should be unthinkable, regardless of the respective political environment.

The markets, after some gains, are falling again, as the variant spreads and politicians and organizations such as the World Health Organization choose fear over pragmatism.

U.S. government survey data, The Wall Street recently opined, indicate 92% of adults had COVID antibodies as of September from vaccines or prior infection.  “It’s possible Omicron could fuel a surge in cases this winter, but many fewer people are likely to get severely ill than in past waves. Evidence also indicates that boosters increase protection against variants,” WSJ writes.

Yet, the newspaper reports, irresponsible politicians such as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul go undeterred. Hocul declared a disaster emergency allowing the state to suspend elective procedures at hospitals if their staffed-bed capacity falls below 10%, WSJ says. 

“But the real cause of the ‘disaster’ is her mandate requiring that health care workers be vaccinated,” the paper writes.

Such tyrannical moves will only push us deeper into this neverending COVID morass. At some point, we must decide to live with this virus. That point in time should be now.