Politics

Bill Maher and Bari Weiss on being done with COVID – HotAir


Lots of applause for this clip on social media today, for good reason. Literally everyone shares Maher’s and Weiss’s sentiments at this stage of pandemic fatigue.

Except people who work for teachers unions, I mean.

Still, it’s ironic that this ode to resignation happened to air on the same day that the U.S. recorded its worst single-day death toll from COVID in almost a year:

We haven’t averaged 2,100 daily deaths since February 2021, during the down slope of that winter’s horrendous wave. But I guess it’s not really ironic that people’s exasperation with COVID is peaking as deaths are peaking too. We’ve thrown everything we have at the virus — masks, distancing, vaccines galore — and even caught a break in the form of a new and less virulent variant crowding out its more dangerous predecessors. Yet here we are with 3,800 dead yesterday and the death curve still on the way up.

When nothing can stop transmission, what’s left to do except embrace fatalism? Seemingly everyone, vaccinated or not, is or recently was sick:

Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 10, approximately 8.8 million workers reported not working because they were sick with the coronavirus or caring for someone who was, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Those numbers are nearly triple the levels from the first two weeks of December, before cases had started to peak around the country. They were also the highest numbers since the agency started taking the survey in April 2020 — well over last January’s peak of 6.6 million workers out…

“Unfortunately, the biggest issue about omicron is it’s no longer just fear of contagion and aversion to in-person activity, but it’s actually causing acute labor shortages from the sheer number of people who are out sick,” said Diane Swonk, economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton.

Those acute shortages affect hospitals too, of course. ICUs in many places are strained again, partly because of the patient load but partly because the ICU itself may be operating with a skeleton staff due to doctors and nurses being out sick.

Even PCR testing is essentially useless. There’s too much demand and not enough capacity, especially with some lab workers also sidelined by Omicron:

Epidemiologist Bill Hanage tweeted two days ago that he wouldn’t be very surprised if 20 percent of Americans, more than 60 million people, are infected at the moment. There hasn’t been anything like it in the past 100 years.

But *maybe* this is the final chapter. Read this short but hopeful assessment by Christopher Murray in the Lancet sizing up the extent of population immunity post-Omicron, the arrival of new therapies, and the prospect of adapted vaccines. “The era of extraordinary measures by government and societies to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission will be over,” he writes of the looming transition from pandemic to endemic. “After the omicron wave, COVID-19 will return but the pandemic will not.”




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