Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, panicked news reports on a new, coronavirus variant called omicron dominated the airwaves, and according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, despite a notable lack of evidence about the risk of increased transmissibility or severity of symptoms, the nation should prepare itself for “anything and everything” when it comes to mitigation, as Breitbart reports.
According to the BBC, the World Health Organization (WHO) stepped forth in recent days to declare a new viral variant to be “of concern,” giving it the name “omicron” to differentiate it from the original version of COVID-19 as well as the subsequent delta variant that caused previous surges across the globe.
Identified in South Africa, the new variant is reported to feature an alarming number of mutations from the prior strains, with some engendering additional worry about greater transmissibility and potential ability to evade the effectiveness of existing treatments as well as of available vaccines.
Though not a great deal is yet known about whether those concerns are legitimate, Dr. Angeline Coetzee, a member of the board of the South African Medical Association, said that based on her observation of younger, mainly unvaccinated patients infected with the variant, the disease seems to produce little more than “unusual but mild symptoms, as Fox News reported.
The South African physician told the U.K. Telegraph that of the variant-infected patients she saw, “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before.”
According to Coetzee, omicron “presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well,” adding, “So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer the loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms.”
Those observations did not deter Dr. Fauci from sounding the alarm about the potential need for stark new mitigation measures in the face of omicron, something he did during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week.
When asked by host George Stephanopoulous about whether new mandates or even lockdowns may be on the horizon due to omicron’s emergence, Fauci replied, “I don’t know, George, it’s really too early to say. We just really need to, as I said so often, prepare for the worst,” adding, “We’ll make decisions based on the science and the evidence the way we always do. But you want to be prepared to do anything and everything.”
Given the massive economic, educational, and societal upheaval caused by heavy-handed pandemic mitigation measures since early 2020, it seems highly unlikely most Americans are prepared to submit to additional restrictions on their freedoms in response to a viral variant whose known impact thus far is limited to “unusual but mild” symptoms.