Everyone expected mutations. It is amazing to see evolution happen right in front of people’s eyes for months, and yet some still deny the existence and importance of evolution as a science. The virus mutated in ways that no one noticed, mutations that made it less effective and harmless, and there were mutations that did the opposite. Mutations are by definition random, but their effects and thus their dangers are not. Omicron is the variant that everyone feared. It’s a lot more contagious. There is a possibility – with some signs that it is more severe in symptoms and threat, and – may be able to evade the immune system so that our vaccines can either partially or completely evade it. There’s no evidence of the last worry yet, just worry.
If the concerns prove justified, we are back to step one with COVID in many ways, and Biden has already taken some of the same steps Trump took and stopped traveling. However, since the virus has emerged in Europe with no direct connection to travel to South Africa, it is irresponsible to assume that it is not already present in much of Europe. It wasn’t seen here. Keyword “seen”.
There are still so many unanswered questions that it is possible the world is overreacting right now. But the most responsible thing is to take it as seriously as the federal government does. Dealing with an economy and the physical health of Americans in the midst of a far more virulent (yet to be proven) variant is going to make the Build Back Better program look simple. This could define the Biden Presidency, and roughly half of the country will not consider this as such and neither will they care.
According to Politico:
Although no cases have been found in the U.S., Biden health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the White House held a series of meetings over the past two days to plan U.S. cases for Variation and possible spikes of the disease spread across the country. Officials have debated how long to stop travel from southern Africa, whether to allow U.S. residents to return, and whether to change domestic public health guidelines to protect Americans from possible infection, the said three senior Biden officials. The government will impose restrictions on Monday but will not apply them to U.S. citizens.
“One thing is clear: [Omicron] is very transferable, ”said Fauci. “The reason you are closing the borders is to buy you time so you can better prepare and learn more about the variant, its transmissibility, its potential bypassing immune responses, and the severity of the diseases it can cause.”
The danger of the new variant is so unknown that the impression you get often depends on the article you have read.
But with the whole country, not just the MAGAs, suffering from COVID fatigue, the emergence of a new variant that is far more contagious and dangerous here would have devastating effects on both the health of the population and our economic health. It seems impossible to close the country again for any period of time, so you follow the CDC ruse and take your risk.
When all the wrong things come together and there are worrying signs that feel very familiar, that variation could determine the Biden presidency. He was a master at it, with the least possible impact on health and the economy, and at least half the country wouldn’t know or care. Ironically, it’s probably the same half of the country that is most at risk.
Worst of all, if not understood or appreciated, we could go straight back to the kind of guidance that made the first wave so devastating.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, writer, writer, and lawyer. Originally from Canada, he grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, for which he is more grateful every day. Now he enjoys life as a single father, writes about the beaches of the Gulf Coast and takes advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is the dreamy mystic who can’t add anything and loves dogs more than most people. He also enjoys studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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