In the wake of a surge in Covid cases driven by the Omicron variant, the New York Times is trying to scare you back into your homes, alone, perhaps through government edict, just in time for the holidays. Although early studies suggest the highly contagious Omicron may not be nearly as deadly as the Delta variant, that didn’t stop the paper from virally spreading panic and using it as an excuse to push the same authoritarian measures -- lockdowns and mask mandates -- that have failed the past two years.
A Wednesday story by Roni Caryn Rabin and Emily Anthes, “Omicron Will Surge Despite Biden’s New Plan, Scientists Say,” got to the left of President Biden, whose more hopeful address to the nation was faulted as insufficiently activist (again, never mind the indications of low death rates from Omicron).
Some expressed frustration and alarm about what they described as a timid public health response, and bemoaned the apparent lack of will among politicians and society at large for more aggressive steps.
(By aggressive steps, read “lockdowns, shuttered businesses, and masks forever.)
….Despite Mr. Biden’s advice on Tuesday, Americans planning family celebrations with grandparents or other potentially vulnerable individuals, or planning New Year’s Eve festivities with friends, should reconsider, some experts said.
Which is why we don’t let epidemiologists run the country.
Reporters Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Otterman took a lecturing tone in their Christmas Eve story, as shown in the headline and subhead: “Omicron Is Spreading Fast. Can New York Do More to Slow It Down? -- Mayor Bill de Blasio says he doesn’t want to impose new government restrictions. But some health experts say more must be done.”
As the fast-spreading Omicron variant tears through New York City at a rate not seen since the early days of the pandemic, city officials and health experts are wrestling with an agonizing question: What more can be done to stop its spread?
The reporters passed along some great original ideas from “public health experts”: More shutdowns and masks!
Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear that he expects the city to weather the ordeal with few new government interventions and believes vaccination is the key strategy. But some public health experts say that the effort to flatten the curve should also emphasize social distancing, restrictions on large gatherings and more stringent mask-wearing rules….
Times reporters, like the left in general, are amazingly blasé and without empathy towards the people whose lives they’re attempting to throw into chaos for the second Christmas running. You can almost hear the disappointed sigh from the writers in the article below, “Europeans Ponder Living With, Not Defeating, Covid:”
Still, not everyone agrees with a scaled-down approach to fighting the virus, and it remains unclear if that notion will survive the possible Omicron crush of hospitalizations that many scientists fear. Even if most cases are mild, they argue, Omicron’s quick-fire spread could still lead to huge caseloads and overwhelming hospital admissions.
Antoine Flahault, the director of the Institute of Global Health in Geneva, said France’s strategy -- which went little beyond health passes and had stopped short of imposing stricter measures like bar closures -- was nowhere near what was needed to stave off a wave of Omicron cases.
Yet as the pandemic drags on, scientists are often losing out to politicians. And in the political and economic calculus that has become the core of public health messaging for weeks now, the Christmas season has loomed large.