Health and Medicine

Is the Omicron panic just the beginning of the way we live now?

By Joel Mathis The Week

Perhaps this is what endemic COVID looks like: Occasional weeks or months of relative normalcy punctuated by sudden bursts of fear and panic, continuing on and on into the foreseeable future.

Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but a little bit of pessimism feels warranted after the emergence of Omicron as a COVID “variant of concern” over the weekend. The development shut down a chunk of international travel, sent markets tumbling, and generally threatened a widespread-but-fragile sense that maybe this time the worst of the pandemic was over, or almost so, for many of us. It was difficult to know whether to be terrified because of Omicron’s many mutations that could render the virus impervious to our defenses, or hopeful that existing vaccines might prove effective against the new threat. As always, separating good information from the bad proved to be a Herculean task — the flurry of online speculation quickly outraced the few facts we do have. There’s so much that isn’t known yet.

The thing we do know? Omicron is coming to the United States, if it hasn’t already arrived.

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