Different Takes: Worldwide Genomic Tracking Needed To Control Variants; Antivirals Are Key In Covid Fight
Opinion writers delve into these covid topics.
The Washington Post:
The World Lacks A Global Disease Radar. South Africa Showed How It Could Work.
In all the uncertainty about a new virus variant, omicron, a bright spot must not be overlooked. The new variant was detected and its genome sequenced rapidly in South Africa, which then alerted the rest of the world that it carried a large number of mutations and might be more transmissible, virulent and immune evasive than previous variants. For this stellar and generous performance, South Africa was met with the sound of doors slamming shut. (11/29)
The New COVID Drugs Are A Bigger Deal Than People Realize
Although masks, distancing, ventilation, testing, and contact tracing have all helped forestall a collapse of the American health-care system under the weight of COVID-19, the pandemic will come under control in only two ways: Preventives—specifically vaccines—will harness people’s immune system to keep them from becoming infected, getting sick, and spreading the coronavirus, while targeted therapeutics will offer hope to those who have already developed symptoms. The emergence of Omicron, a worrisome new variant of the coronavirus, underscores the need to use multiple tools to fight the disease. (Monica Gandhi, 11/29)
How To Fight Covid-19 While The Scientists Wait For Answers On Omicron (Opinion)
This week, news of a worrisome variant of the coronavirus dubbed Omicron dominated headlines after it was first detected in South Africa. Many world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, reacted swiftly to the news by announcing a raft of travel restrictions on African countries, even though the variant has already been detected in places like Australia, Hong Kong and Israel. While Omicron has not yet been found in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he "would not be surprised" if it has already made its way in. (Syra Madad and Jacob Glanville, 11/29)
The Boston Globe:
What We Can Do Now To Protect Ourselves And Each Other From The Omicron Variant
While most of us were enjoying our first Thanksgiving in two years with loved ones, a new COVID variant exploded onto the scene. In a matter of hours after South Africa announced its existence, on Nov. 24, B.1.1.529 earned the name Omicron by the World Health Organization as a new variant of concern, and the European Union, the United States, Israel, and Singapore announced bans on travelers from southern Africa. New York also preemptively declared a state of emergency, although no cases have yet been detected there or in the United States generally. (Shan Soe-Lin and Robert Hecht, 11/29)
Kansas City Star:
Why Are Kansas Republicans On Omicron COVID Variant’s Side?
Viruses mutate to survive. Generally speaking, so do politicians. With omicron, the new, highly mutated COVID-19 “variant of concern” alarming the markets and the epidemiologists, it shouldn’t be impossible to imagine that Republicans could make one more shift. In recent years, they’ve abandoned their long-standing support for free trade and NATO, smiling on as Donald Trump repeatedly sided with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence community. Now the previously pro-business party is telling Mom and Pop that they can’t fire people who pose a health risk to their co-workers and customers. With that kind of flexibility about what they believe, the GOP could easily do another 180 and stop siding with COVID-19. (11/29)
Dallas Morning News:
How Should We Respond To Omicron? Not Like This
The emergence of the new and worrisome omicron COVID-19 variant is cause for concern, but it shouldn’t be cause for panic. Government at every level should be cautious about imposing greater restrictions that affect people’s lives, their ability to run their businesses, go to church or, most importantly, go to school. We’ve seen no indication yet there is a rush to impose the sort of economically and socially crippling lockdowns that we endured through 2020. We would be surprised, though, if there isn’t political pressure to do so. (11/29)
Joe Biden Faces A Crucial Test With The New Omicron Variant
There are more questions than answers about the new Covid-19 variant known as Omicron first identified Thursday by South Africa's health minister. Still, with the World Health Organization announcing Friday Omicron is a "variant of concern" and vaccine manufacturer Moderna adding the variant poses "a significant potential risk," alarm bells are sounding in the United States and across the world about what it may mean for all of us. This new variant may simply be a continuation of the same battle against Covid-19 that began in early 2020. But vaccine makers say there's a possibility our vaccines won't be effective against Omicron. Are we at risk of going back to square one against the pandemic? (Dean Obeidallah, 11/29)