Griping about Omicron
Terry H. Schwadron
Dec. 22, 2021
We’re once again behind the eight ball in delays in free covid testing equipment and long lines during a holiday week in which millions insist on traveling on airlines that require negative test results to meet indoors in large family groups just as Omicron — the covid mutation unknown three weeks ago — is doubling contagion cases every three days.
It must be Joe Biden’s fault.
A third or more of Americans demand that no one mandate anything about public health protections and reject vaccines and masks but want immediate and unending response from medical personnel and hospitals to be ready in case God decides that it was time for them to be caught up in contagion. Indeed, it is an affront that restaurants and arenas might challenge whether they have taken reasonable precautions for affecting others.
It, too, must be Joe Biden’s fault.
That’s the same Joe Biden who said in the summer we could be turning the corner on covid infections if only we all get free vaccinations. Joe Biden must be flip-flopping now that there is a full-blown global outbreak of the new mutation that comes about because so many around the world are still not vaccinated, in effect creating a lab for ever-new variations.
But rather than look at our own behaviors as a society, it is much easier to blame Joe Biden, whether you are anti-vax or pro-public health brought directly to your home.
Let’s Go Brandon!
But then can we ask: Where is personal responsibility in all this? Where is the responsibility for spreading misinformation about pandemic precautions? Why isn’t our united goal to keep people out of quickly over-subscribed hospitals and dying? When do we really recognize that this issue is global?
We’re tired of covid, masks, restrictions, medical advice, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and hearing about how it was really Donald Trump who saved the world by giving billions to jumpstart vaccine development and China’s fault for allowing the disease to arise in the first place.
Let’s skip over a new report, prepared by the House select subcommittee investigating covid response, that the Trump White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance by the nation’s top infectious disease experts and silenced officials in order to promote Trump’s political agenda.
A week or two ago, Biden and a handful of Democratic governors were seen as rash and overly nanny-like in talking of reinstating public health measures before Omicron was even being measured in the United States. Closing air travel was denounced as hypocrisy from a Joe Biden who two years ago had said Trump’s late decision to halt air traffic from China — and his many anti-China statements — reflected more xenophobia than effective measures.
Now, it’s that Biden has been late to the game to protect against deaths from Omicron — which, the science says, will be hitting hardest at the unvaccinated populations primarily in Republican-led states.
Obviously, it is easier to use blame than to use a mask.
Covid and Politics
If you’re a member of Republican leadership, it seems to be more important to root for Biden chaos rather than life-saving measures.
“The Beatings Will Continue,” headlines Breitbart News, noting Boston as the newest city to re-order masks for bars and restaurants. “Over my dead body,” proclaims former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, announcing to anyone who cares that neither she nor her children will take a vaccine from a Democratic government.
Dozens of lawsuits by anti-vaxers who instead insist that hospitals treat them with Invectin, a horse de-wormer gaining notoriety as a non-working alternative to fight covid, are proceeding, and sometimes winning (which is confusing, since it too is a vaccine of sorts).
Of course, it turns out that Donald Trump has had his own booster shot, as he told supporters at an event with Bill O’Reilly — drawing boos from his own MAGA nation, even as he supports individual choice about vaccines and masking.
At the same time, public health advocates think we’re moving too slowly.
So, Biden went on the air with a public White House address to warn anew that this is a disease that is highly contagious, and while there will be breakout cases among the vaccinated, they generally will not be severe enough to threaten death. By contrast, the unvaccinated are relatively sitting ducks for contagion. And a week or two after learning about Omicron, Biden has ginned up a program to distribute 500 million home covid tests and is setting up federal vaccine centers in January — probably in record time for any week other than when American impatience demands an answer in 10 minutes or less.
Even the questions being asked — basically why we once again are unprepared for the inevitable holiday travel crush desires for required testing — illustrate more about our impatience than about our willingness to do something about living with contagion.