Here Comes the Son of Covid Omicron! By Chris Knight
Here is a report from the mainstream media about the next Covid crisis, BA.2, a subvariant of the highly infectious Omicron. It reminds me of Bananas in Pyjamas, my favourite kids show, and vaccine policies makes less sense than a kid’s cartoon, anyway. BA.2 is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the United States and around the world. Will history repeat itself, and another wave of lockdowns occur, until “save” by a new round a miraculous vaxxes? Then guess what?
The next wave of Covid-19 is coming, and in some parts of the United States, it’s already here. Are you ready?
The culprit this time is BA.2, a subvariant of the highly infectious Omicron variant. Nobody knows for sure how much havoc it will cause, but BA.2 has already led to a surge of cases in Europe and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the United States and around the world.
Researchers are tracking an uptick in cases in the United States, and they’ve detected a rise in the viral particles recovered from nearly 150 wastewater-surveillance sites. Because people can shed the coronavirus even if they never develop symptoms, pieces of the virus collected in wastewater can serve as advance warning several days before official case counts rise, said Bronwyn MacInnis, who directs pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Over the past two weeks, Dr. MacInnis’s group has seen a rapid increase in levels of the BA.2 subvariant in the Northeast.
“I don’t think we’re looking at a crazy lockdown scenario in this part of the world with BA.2,” Dr. MacInnis said. “But we can’t be sure that we won’t have another curveball from this virus in the future.”
American health officials have said they are hopeful that BA.2 won’t cause another major surge, in part because so many people were infected by the original Omicron wave this winter and most likely have at least some natural or vaccine immunity to protect them against severe illness and hospitalization.
But other variables could turn the BA.2 wave into a more damaging surge. One concern is that less than 70 percent of Americans over 65 have had a first booster shot, leaving a large group vulnerable, said Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif. And for many people who got their booster shots in the fall, immune protection may be waning. Unvaccinated people who are counting on natural immunity from a previous infection by a different variant should know that BA.2 can easily sidestep those fading immune defenses.
And then there’s the question of whether pandemic fatigue will prevent some people from taking reasonable precautions, like wearing masks and social distancing, when Covid numbers start to rise in their area.
“We know how to manage it,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, a professor and the chair of the medicine department at the University of California, San Francisco. “But the big caveat will be that there are lots of parts of the country that will not go back into careful mode. It’s wishful thinking to believe we’re going to stay in a situation as good as we are in now.”
While the virus is unpredictable, there are clear ways to protect yourself. The plans you make now can lower your risk of exposure, minimize the disruption to the lives of your family and friends and help to assure you have access to treatments if you or someone you know becomes seriously ill.
Here’s what you can do to prepare.”
No, we have heard quite enough from you, New York Times.