Guy Farmer: Over-hyping the omicron variant

Guy Farmer

Guy Farmer

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National media went berserk when the first case of the omicron variant was confirmed in the United States. It was page one news across the nation. But why?
Yes, COVID-19 is a deadly pandemic that should be taken seriously because it has killed more than 5 million people around the world, including nearly 800,000 Americans and more than 8,000 Nevadans. And yet, as I draft this column on Thursday morning, the omicron variant hasn't killed anyone – no one – despite constant fear-mongering headlines in the media.
Some folks are so afraid of omicron that they've locked themselves down in their houses with masks on. What a way to live. And because of omicron, New York City's “progressive” Mayor Bill DeBlasio slapped mask and vaccine mandates on everyone on his way out the door. Shameful!
According to the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, it appears that the omicron variant is slightly more contagious but much less deadly than the better known delta variant. Fauci continues to stress that the best way to protect ourselves against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Nationwide, about 70 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, but Nevadans are below the national average at about 60 percent, which is the percentage for Carson City. By contrast, only 20 percent of Storey County (Virginia City) residents are fully vaccinated.
While fear-mongering about omicron was generating newspaper headlines and scary stories on TV, the Wall Street Journal urged everyone to keep calm and avoid panicking in an editorial, "The Omicron Non-Emergency." The Journal noted President Biden said omicron "is a cause for concern but not panic" while stressing the need for vaccinations and booster shots. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization panicked by announcing that the omicron variant "poses a very high risk." Of what? Coughing and sneezing?
Wisely, the Journal urged politicians to avoid lockdowns and mandates that do more harm than good. "Lockdowns don't stop the virus and vaccine mandates are hurting hospitals," the national newspaper opined. "The omicron variant is no excuse for more of either one." Amen!
Journal columnist Dan Heninger wrote omicron has "reinfected government" with disinformation and misinformation about COVID and added, only partly in jest, that Google, Twitter and Facebook "should take down the accounts of every government in the world for how they have mishandled informing their citizens about COVID-19." Heninger criticized "the inflexibility of vaccine mandates and their destructive social upheaval."
You can see some social upheaval around here because local governments are enforcing Gov. Sisolak's mask mandates in different ways. A Carson City restaurant owner told me that some of his customers are going to Virginia City and/or Douglas County, where the governor's mandates are loosely enforced, or totally ignored.
Personally, I think the omicron variant is more like a common cold or the annual flu than the more deadly strains of COVID-19. My advice: Get vaccinated, wear a mask when you go out to eat or shop, and get on with your life. Don't panic and enjoy the holidays.

A Carson City slaughterhouse?
I'd like to remind my loyal readers Wednesday, Dec. 15, planning commissioners and city staff will meet in the Community Center's Bob Crowell Room to reconsider their unpopular decision to approve a slaughterhouse for east Carson City. They want to handle this controversial decision as a "routine administrative matter," but it isn't because most of us don't want a Douglas County slaughterhouse to be located near residential neighborhoods in our capital city. And that's why you should show up on Wednesday to make your voice heard. I'll see you there.
Appeal columnist Guy W. Farmer is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


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