Let’s Hear ALL Information about Omicron, Even the Positive

A new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, (don’t ask what happened to Xi!) has been identified in South Africa. It took only a ten second search to find this important and comparatively positive information about Omicron.

Omicron is reported to be seven times more contagious than the Delta variant and yet in the last two months, the reported cases and deaths from Africa have continued to decline.

Further, Omicron cases are very mild.  In fact,

Looking at the first data coming out of Southern Africa, virologist Marc van Ranst said this weekend that “if the omicron variant is less pathogenic but with greater infectivity, allowing Omicron to replace Delta, this would be very positive.”

So it is possible that the mild Omicron may displace the Delta variant, which would be “very positive”. Its mildness of symptoms is actually what led to it being identified.

So the initial information about Omicron is comparatively very good.  Yet the WHO’s initial news release about Omicron, as well as an update from yesterday, disturbingly lack this information as does the CDC’s statement.

And most news reports about Omicron for the first couple of days have included only the narrow, negative focus of the WHO and CDC statements, completely omitting the full, valuable information out of South Africa from medical boots on the ground.  Dr. Angelique Coetzee, pictured, one of the doctors in South Africa who identified Omicron among her patients, cautioned against such “hype” in this video by Reuters [emphasis added].

But the hype that’s been created currently out there in the media and worldwide doesn’t correlate with the clinical picture and it doesn’t warrant to just cut us off from any travelling and ban South Africa as if we are the villains in the whole process.

Perhaps the most harmful, certainly the most insidious, aspect of the reaction by certain officials to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic eighteen months ago was their narrow focus on and promotion of only certain (always negative) data points.  Exhibit A is the now infamous weekly COVID press conferences held by Governor McKee’s predecessor.  Month after month, these featured a relentless, thudding, some would say brainless, emphasis on deaths and new cases and a perpetual, willful disregard for any positive data, particularly the disease’s sky-high survival rate.  The survival rate was clear early on in the pandemic but this very good news, arguably the most important datapoint of all, was studiously omitted from the public communications of the former Governor Raimondo, her Director of Health and certain other governors and officials around the country.  This resulted in fear and even panic completely disproportionate to the risk posed to the public by a disease with a 99.8% survival rate, a reaction that made the public far more amenable to the extreme, ultimately ineffectual and highly damaging “mitigation” measures imposed by certain governors and leaders.

Let’s not do that again.  Our elected officials and the media need to give the full picture about Omicron, both negative and positive. Early this afternoon, President Biden said that Omicron is a “cause for concern,” not a “cause for panic”.  That’s a small step in the right direction rhetorically.  He and his CDC have an absolute obligation to go much further and promptly give out all the information about Omicron as it comes in, including especially from doctors at ground zero, not just very selective, negative aspects of the disease which amount to manipulative misinformation.

Image: Screenshot of South Africa’s Dr. Angelique Coetzee from this Reuters video.

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