How to deal with Omicron? It’s easy as one, two, three

So it sounds like you and the experts you talked to are saying that the answer to preventing variants like omicron and enduring them is not severe travel restrictions. It’s just a lot more vaccinations.

We know what works. It’s vaccination, it’s masks, it’s social distancing, and probably not travel restrictions.

— Exchange between host Michael Barbaro and reporter Apoorva Mandavilli on The Daily

I’m still trying to catch up on things enough to resume blogging, but I just thought I’d take a moment to weigh in on Omicron. There’s a lot about it we won’t know for weeks, until we see just what it does to us and our world.

There are reasons to be concerned, of course. As this episode of The Daily noted earlier this week, there are three principle questions we ask when a new COVID variant emerges:

  1. How contagious is it?
  2. How severe is it? (Will it lead to more hospitalizations, and deaths?)
  3. Will the vaccines protect us from it?

The initial analysis of the variant indicates it has properties that cause concern in all three of those areas — more than Delta did back during the summer.

But we just won’t know for a while, until we see what happens outside the laboratory.

In the meantime, though, we know how to reduce the risk to our neighbors and ourselves:

  1. Get vaccinated, if for some unimaginable reason you haven’t already done so.
  2. Wear a mask around other people.
  3. Avoid other people. Keep your distance. For God’s sake don’t go out into crowds unless it cannot be avoided.

All of these things make it less likely that you will pick up the virus and pass it onto others. Which reduces the chances for Omicron or any other variant, or any other infectious disease, to spread, to reproduce, to evolve. If everyone does these things, the pandemic burns itself out sooner rather than later.

In other words, act like a grownup. Be a responsible citizen. It’s really not that hard.

36 thoughts on “How to deal with Omicron? It’s easy as one, two, three

  1. Norm Ivey

    I had a conversation with my doctor this week about COVID variants during my checkup. She confirmed what I’ve thought for some time. It’s here to stay, just like the flu and common cold. She thinks that eventually the booster/variant will combined with the annual flu shot.

    1. Bill

      “A new generation of Covid-19 treatments will soon be available, and they matter more than many people realize.
      They have the potential to substantially reduce hospitalization and death. And they are likely to be effective against the Omicron variant, many scientists believe, even if Omicron makes the Covid vaccines weaker at preventing infections. As Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco, told me, the treatments are “a huge deal.” “

    2. Ken

      ” It’s here to stay”

      Well, of course. There was never any scenario in which Covid simply went away. The goal is to transition it from pandemic to endemic. To make the virus less an acute risk and reduce its statistical lethality.

      “The expectation that COVID-19 will become endemic essentially means that the pandemic will not end with the virus disappearing; instead, the optimistic view is that enough people will gain immune protection from vaccination and from natural infection such that there will be less transmission and much less COVID-19-related hospitalization and death, even as the virus continues to circulate.”

    3. Jim Ignatowski

      Because a general practitioner in South Carolina has her finger on the pulse of contagious diseases. She doesn’t know anymore than what she’s read online.

      1. Barry

        Neither do you, but she does have a medical degree and her statement is very similar to leading scientists around the world.

        So there is that.

  2. Ken

    And roughly what percentage of people in your area do you see wearing masks?

    In this area, it’s me and maybe five or six others in most places, like Walmart, the grocery store and the like.
    I didn’t even see much of an uptick in mask wearing during the big surge in late summer. There’s your responsibility for ya. Most folks are just lovin’em summa that glorious freedumb.

    1. Barry

      My wife and I went into a sub shop today for lunch in Camden. Sign on door said something like “wear mask or no service”

      Everyone in there wore their mask until seated at their table to eat. Most were getting it to go. Wasn’t a big crowd as we got there before 11:30am.

      After that we went to a school concert. They advised everyone to wear masks at the entrance.

      Everyone I observed, except 2 folks that looked like they were way out of place at a school concert, were wearing face coverings.

      But I do agree mask wearing is way down. I still wear mine in every store.

      I got my booster last week.

    2. Jim Ignatowski

      Mother Nature’s and China’s solution to overpopulation. If it doesn’t work, the disease just gets stronger until it does work.

  3. bud

    It’s pretty much about getting everyone vaccinated. Masks may help at the margins. Social distancing is pretty much gone. Just like with seat belts and public smoking the correct approach will eventually prevail. But why does it have to be so agonizingly difficult to get there? But we will.

  4. Doug Ross

    What has Joe Biden done in 11 months that has been any different than what Trump would have done? Other than wearing masks as a theatrical performance? Why does he wear them outdoors? It’s stupid.

    Where are they rapid tests? Where are the increased hospital capacities?

    Considering how many people have returned to normal life, especially those under age 60, COVID is over for them. It’s a low risk situation like a bad case of the flu for a few days . For elderly people, stay bunkered down.

    1. Barry

      His plan that he discussed this week was solid

      1) At home tests will be covered by private insurance or distributed free in rural areas through rural health clinics. Now, Congress didn’t authorize this but I suspect we won’t see republicans attorney generals suing to stop this “outrageous government expansion” LOL

      2) the launch of hundreds of family vaccination clinics across the country, offering a “one-stop shop” of first shots for parents, teenagers and children, and boosters for those eligible. There will be “family vaccination days” with hundreds of community health centres across the country hosting family vaccination clinics throughout December.

      3) a public education campaign to encourage adults to get boosters, with a particular focus on the elderly. It will feature paid advertising across multiple channels, and different types of media

      4) expand pharmacy availability during December with the administration working directly with pharmacies to send millions of texts, calls and emails to eligible customers with information on how to schedule an appointment or walk in for a booster shot.

      And my favorite was the earlier announcement of the vaccine mandate. While Republican states sued to stop the mandate, the numbers show the threat of the mandate moved the vaccination percentages up across the country, including in republican states. Of course this would have never happened under Trump. Oh, he might have talked about doing it because he often talked about quite liberal initiatives it he always- always- caved to certain hardline Republicans in Congress.

      Some large employers are still sticking with the mandate . They likely would have never even announced one in the first place without the Biden administration providing some cover.

      1. Doug Ross

        Is it a plan or in effect?

        Text messages and marketing.. if we’d only known that was the solution.

        1. Barry

          The answer is: Both. He discussed his plan last week and it’s also being implemented.

          No one said text messages and marketing are the “solution.” Taking things out of context doesn’t help an argument.

          There is no 1 solution. But It’s refreshing to see a President not wildly and ignorantly speculate about unproven medications to provide help for COVID like Trump repeatedly did. We’ve all seen the stories of people going to hospitals to demand useless medications.

          There is clear evidence that reaching out to certain groups of people does actually help. It helps motivate them to take action. It reminds them that they are eligible themselves for a booster shot. Sure, they should already know that information, but we know plenty don’t.

          Making insurance companies cover home tests is a great idea. It’s plays a small role but it plays a role.

          and again, the vaccine mandate was brilliant. It motivated hundreds if not thousands of companies to mandate the vaccine and the numbers went up almost immediately.

    2. Bobby Amundson

      “What has Joe Biden done in 11 months that has been any different than what Trump would have done?”

      At least TRY to be nice. Mean toxic people suck. Gun violence sucks.

      1. Bobby Amundson

        Sucks = 1960s; Yogi and “Deja vu all over again.”

        THE MAN! Need I go on? …

        Then I joined the fricking Navy; in my blood. Brad too; THE MAN unfairly (IMHO) denied our friend the opportunity to serve as his Father did. Brad, your service as a writer is much more powerful. I know …

        SMH …

  5. Barry

    It’s not as fun as the endless debate about COVID we have on here but this story was interesting.

    So, it’s Missouri……

    A Journalist at the St Louis Post Dispatch, while researching a story, discovered a security flaw in a state of Missouri website. The state website allowed people to go on to the platform to view a certified teacher’s credentials. However the journalist when accessing the publicly available information, also discovered that he could obtain the Social Security numbers of every certified teacher in Missouri along with other private employer information.

    The journalist reached out to a local college professor for background and computer technical expertise to verify what he was actually seeing. The journalist didn’t pass on any Social Security numbers.

    The journalist also reported this problem to the proper state agency – Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) of the flaw and withheld publication of the story about it until the database was taken offline.

    The state agency worked to repair the problem and then they write up a statement publicly praising the reporter from the newspaper. They forwarded the statement to the governor’s office and within a few hours the statement was changed and then later on that day the Republican governor accused the reporter of being a “hacker” and breaking Missouri law.

    The governor also said he was going to turn the reporter in to law enforcement. This occurred after the local FBI office told the state that this was not a hack that the reporter simply accessed publicly available information on the website

    The Governor, of course, has not backed down and has not apologized. The college professor, who had really nothing to do with any of this, had to hire a lawyer.

    Law enforcement has interviewed the college professor. Even the state’s very own hand picked cyber security expert is totally perplexed at why the state is saying the journalist was a hacker.

    Other security experts have weighed into say the governor clearly doesn’t understand how any of this works but is blaming a reporter who actually saved them tons of embarrassment because it looks good to some of the governor’s supporters.

    1. bud

      Is this the same Governor who adamantly refused to pardon a convicted killer even though the prosecutor established he was innocent? He’s just an anti crime ideologue.

      1. Barry

        I believe you are talking about the situation where the governor would not pardon the guy- even though the people who did commit murder said he wasn’t even there?

        I believe this is the same governor.

        Well, the governor can’t make his supporters mad. If an innocent person has to spend his life in prison, that’s a small price to play to prop up the Missouri governor.

        For some reason, I just thought of the 2012 South Carolina Republican primary debate where the audience, full of handpicked South Carolina Republicans, booed Ron Paul for decrying American involvement in foreign wars.

        It’s amazing how much things have changed.

        1. Bobby Amundson

          Who could have guessed?
          These days are going to test us
          Keeping social distance
          Before we find a way out of this mess

          I need to get out of this house
          Into the fields
          By the brook thеn further on to the wood
          And I need to feel close to thе earth
          Breathe the clean air
          To soothe my soul just to clear my brain
          To try and keep me sane

          These are the strangest times
          You’d better believe these are the strangest times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Barry

    Good news today.

    The Department of Justice sued Texas regarding their new election maps which increased white voting power in the state, despite the white population staying virtually stagnant.

    It will be interesting to see what happens – of course it’s harder now with so many Republican judges who are going to favor Republicans.

    also of note this past weekend-

    A host of NC Republican House and 2 Senate candidates made their way down to the Republican Party’s Messiah’s residence in Florida to get his blessing. The story of their trip, published today, was pretty interesting.

      1. Barry

        I agree but I think it’s sad when folks that say they want to be elected leaders kiss the ring of anyone.

        If someone thinks they are worthy of being a leader, a public servant, and have something to offer, begging someone voted out of office for their blessing or they wont’ run, seems pretty pathetic.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Start calling the judges biased now. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to keep believing you’re right.

      No objective, rational judge could rule against the way you want.

      Keep telling yourself that. It’s the best way to preserve your belief that you’re right. Otherwise, you would have to acknowledge error on your part.

      Can’t have that.

      1. Barry

        No Bryan, you are the one in error- again.

        I think the general public is sick of being lied to about how judges aren’t political and only judge the law. Thankfully, polling shows us the American public doesn’t agree with Bryan and agrees with me.

        From The American Constitution Society study

        “The study finds that judicial partisanship is significantly responsive to political considerations that have grown more important in today’s judicial politics.”

        “Principal Findings

        1) Judges favor litigants from their own party in head-to-head cases.

        2) The problem of partisan decision making is arguably getting worse over time.”

        ***This study is based on work by a team of independent researchers from Emory University School of Law that is forthcoming in Stanford Law Review.***

  7. Barry

    Interesting note today regarding COVID. the GOP in Tennessee is a bit crazy. No shock.

    The GOP legislature is angry. Specifically, Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge

    The medical review board of Tennessee put a statement on their website that stated doctors who “generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by the state medical board, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.” Doctors, the policy says, “must share information that is factual, scientifically-grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health.”

    Their anti-misinformation policy was consistent with major medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Medical Specialities, which certifies physicians.

    So what’s the problem?

    Well, the doctor review board warning medical doctors that they can get in trouble professionally for spreading COVID misinformation was a bridge too far for some GOP legislators in Tennessee who believe that such a policy must be approved by a GOP state committee.

    and the GOP in Tennessee is not about to approve such a policy.

    So the Tennessee board removed the policy statement from the medical review board website.

    There was 1 – count it- 1 GOP lawmaker that disagreed – he happens to be a medical doctor.

    Tennessee Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, who is a doctor and the only Republican senator who voted against the omnibus bill, said last week he objected to lawmakers inserting themselves into the board’s efforts to combat misinformation.

    Doctors have a responsibility to be a “reliable source of information,” Briggs said. And the board is tasked with holding those same doctors accountable.

    “The Government Operations Committee should not be telling the Board of Medical Examiners, who (are) charged with protecting the public health and safety, that they can’t do something to a doctor that’s intentionally giving known misinformation,” Briggs said.

  8. Barry

    South Carolina is trying hard to make it illegal for private employers to require employees to have the vaccine. The argument being that free loving people should not be required to do something medically.

    The pushback from the business community was so strong, the legislation has been changed to just apply to public employers- including not requiring first responders to have the vaccine.

    Does the bill include liability protection against First Responders or cities/counties/towns if one of their emergency responders were to have COVID and infect someone they are providing care for?

    I’ve reached out to several representatives to ask if they will be introducing a bill to ban vaccine mandates for school children in South Carolina. No response yet.

    1. Barry

      I receive a response from 2 legislators – one about 11 am- the other about 30 minutes later. Both were friendly.

      1 avoided the question regarding revoking school vaccination requirements. I repeated my question to him and he replied- but totally answered a question I didn’t ask.

      I thought that was sort of odd.

      The other told me he couldn’t believe the nonsense that was going on from some in his party this week in the House (He believes the Senate will likely ignore it or kill it but said he can’t promise it).

      I sensed he was also angry- but angry because he thought valuable time was being wasted on this subject in the House. I asked him about my school mandated vaccine question and why these folks that so hate mandates are still mandating school vaccines. He replied “no one is going to even bring that inconsistency up”

  9. Carol Smith

    I am beginning to seriously doubt the mental capacity of many people these days because they not only are still unvaccinated but they will not wear a mask!! I don’t think I will ever look at them the same and that makes me very sad.

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