Different Takes: Omicron Is Breaking Through Vaccinations; Managing Omicron Threat
Opinion writers examine these covid and vaccine issues.
The New York Times:
Most Covid Infections May Soon Be Breakthroughs. Here’s What That Means.
Omicron — the latest variant of SARS-CoV-2 — is steadily working its way through populations with high levels of immunity around the world. There are going to be many coronavirus cases in the coming days and weeks, with little to stop the spread, even if existing immunity can still prevent serious illness. The United States, where Delta still reigns supreme for now, is reporting over 120,000 new daily coronavirus cases. In Britain, Omicron cases are surging. (Eleanor Cummins, 12/19)
Omicron Is Coming. Here’s What To Do.
The omicron wave is upon us, and the national conversation is vacillating between panic and indifference. Those who are near panic point to rapidly rising case counts and lockdowns in several European nations. Those who are indifferent lean into reports of Omicron being a milder coronavirus variant; after nearly two years of COVID, that can feel like reason enough to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror and get on with their life. Both perspectives are understandable, but neither is helpful. Successfully navigating the next wave of the coronavirus pandemic requires charting a middle course. (Ashish K. Jha, 12/19)
Omicron Upends New York, Northeast As Delta Stays Strong
The change of expert opinion was sudden. Researchers at Harvard Medical School now say the omicron variant, not delta, is likely fueling the current surge in Covid-19 cases in the northeastern U.S. That’s cause for alarm, because they still don’t know much about the variant, and it’s unclear how well vaccines will protect people. Harvard’s labs are optimized for speed but omicron is spreading faster than they can track it. (Brooke Sample, 12/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Can We Prevent Another Winter Of Despair With Omicron?
Predicting future COVID waves and hospital surges is always fraught with challenges, but there are early indications from Texas, Minnesota, Britain and South Africa that the U.S. health system will experience yet another great challenge. There is little doubt we are headed for an unprecedented COVID surge from Delta and Omicron variants combined as we head into the winter. Worse, this grim scenario means the two variants will accelerate while the U.S. healthcare workforce is already depleted and exhausted. (Peter Hotez, 12/17)
The New York Times:
What Our Omicron Future Should Look Like
If you want to know what the Omicron variant means for protecting you and your community in the next few months, look at New York City. The variant is causing a dramatic surge of cases in the unvaccinated and vaccinated alike and will almost certainly become the dominant strain in weeks — a process that took the Delta variant months. This will soon happen across the country, adding to the wintertime surge many places are already experiencing because of Delta infections. (Jay K. Varma, 12/20)
Los Angeles Times:
Without Context, COVID Tallies Are Misleading
Since the start of the pandemic, public health authorities have been fastidiously counting the number of people infected with the coronavirus. For both the medical profession and the media, these rising figures have been the principal way of framing the pandemic in the U.S.: “124,000 new cases a day,” “802,000 COVID deaths since February 2020.” But this information offers an incomplete picture of the crisis, potentially warping the public’s understanding in ways that could prolong the pandemic and even add to its toll. (Jim Downs, 12/19)
Vaccine Mandates Win In Court, Not A Moment Too Soon With Omicron
A federal appeals court overseeing the consolidation of dozens of legal challenges to the Biden administration’s Covid-19 testing and vaccine mandates for businesses ruled on Friday evening that the White House’s effort can move forward. Demonstrating that common sense and a healthy regard for public safety are still alive and well in some corners of the country, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, based in Ohio, ruled that the mandates represent “an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, forced businesses to shut down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs.” (Timothy L. O'Brien, 12/20)