Due to the revelation of COVID-19’s omicron version, governments all over the world were in panic mode this week.
As of writing, we know that Omicron is more transmissible than other variants. However, we don’t know if omicron is more dangerous. To the contrary, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, explained that the symptoms associated with omicron were “mild,” explaining, “we don’t see severely ill patients.”
If that were true, omicron would be a reason to be optimistic. That’s because delta is already highly infectious and herd immunity seems to be a pipe dream—which means that if someone has the choice between an omicron infection and a delta infection, one would wish for the omicron infection. A global health improvement would be possible if the omicron virus were to outnumber the deadlier variant.
Yet, our institutional leaders have reacted in total disregard.
According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every American above 18 years old should receive a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine. There is little evidence that boosters lower hospitalization and death rates for COVID-19 for the younger population (but they do for those older than 60).
Dr. Anthony Fauci is expressing grave concern at the possibility that vaccine mandates for air travel could be implemented and new mask mandates. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York declared a state emergency allowing for the suspension elective surgeries.
The predictable result was that markets have plummeted. They’ve plunged not because of omicron itself, but because the private sector knows that the public sector may hammer away at economic freedom again.
Our political class failed throughout the pandemic. Perhaps its greatest success was in giving cash to pharmaceutical companies who developed vaccines. Nearly all public policy measures have failed to achieve their objectives.
The same applies to omicron. Omicron is already in countries all over the world. Lockdown policies were ineffective in curbing the pandemic outside of isolated countries around the globe; the return of lockdown won’t be any more successful. The actual disease replication rates have been disassociated from mask mandates. And vaccines are already widely available; those who are afraid of omicron will get vaccinated, and those who aren’t won’t.
It’s a good time for you to take a deep breath.
Our public officials are not capable of humility. This time, they suggest, will be different; this time, they’ll prevent disease from spreading. It seems that those in power have a vested right to believe that they can stop the spread of disease, death, and poverty. They won’t let go of that lie, lest citizens see through the veil and seize back power over their own lives.
Instead, we’re told that we must hand over more control to our authoritarian-minded leaders, to the self-appointed Scientific Experts (TM)—all out of an “abundance of caution,” of course. Strangely, this excessive caution does not seem to allow for unprecedented intervention in everyday life or global economic affairs. Our elites abandon caution in these areas.
A true “abundance of caution” mentality would suggest that before we destroy our institutions again—before we overthrow free markets in the name of welfarism, checks and balances in the name of health authoritarianism, and individual liberty in the name of safety—we see some data. Otherwise, heavy-handed “solutions” will always be the measure of first resort, long before we even know whether a crisis has materialized.
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