We Don’t Have to Make the Same Mistakes on Omicron That We Made on Delta
We have a chance to get this right this time. We know what to do. Do we have the will?
Hey Friends — This week’s Thursday piece is coming a day early. The New Republic asked me to break down omicron and what lessons our mishandling of the delta variant can teach us.
As always, you can find a preview of the piece here. You can read the rest at The New Republic’s website.
Omicron, the new Covid variant, has put a pandemic-weary public into survival mode. Heading into our third year of this, with delta still wreaking havoc in parts of the Midwest and Northeast, the American public had already had enough. And yet the available evidence suggests that omicron is likely more transmissible than even delta was. Within two weeks of its emergence, omicron overtook all other variants to become the dominant strain in South Africa—and is spreading quickly around the world.
Following the knee-jerk responses of European countries, the United States was quick to issue a travel ban on non-citizens from South Africa and seven other southern African countries. It’s an echo from the earliest days of the pandemic. The last time around, the U.S. utterly failed to leverage basic public health tools in the fight against the virus, choosing blunt and ultimately less effective tools like travel bans. They didn’t work last time, and they won’t work this time. In addition to obvious tools like vaccination and masking, what we need now are tools in the public health toolbox we’ve yet neglected to leverage at scale: contact tracing, rapid testing, and genomic surveillance….. Head on over to The New Republic to find the rest of the piece.
This presupposes the US has the capacity to execute a rational plan, hence the emphasis on the will. But why do you believe that is so? The only thing that has been done right was funding for the vaccines, and this required virtually zero mobilization of a competent bureaucracy. Nothing else has been competently handled. Have you considered the possibility that the US and the UK and many other OECD countries simply no longer have the capacity to execute a rational plan?