Letters & Opinion

Africa’s Omicron Experience Part 6

Omicron is Coming to Town...

You better watch out
It’s okay to cry
Tear out your hair
I’m telling you why:
OMICRON is coming to town!

Image of Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

When a dear friend sent me a new music video with the above first verse of a new version of the old ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ song, I smiled.

I actually grinned, because it meant the creative presenters are helping get across the message that while this Second COVID Christmas will still be white in snowy climes, it’ll definitely not be bright anywhere.

More than Delta, it’s new cousin (Omicron) has already taken the world by storm: present in over 89 countries, detected in 43 of the US’ 50 states, representing 60% of new cases in the UK and compounding vaccination problems in Canada, taking North America and Europe by winter storm as the long Christmas weekend approaches.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that Omicron is not joking, it’s Director General Tedros Adhanon also warning that holiday travel can accelerate Omicron’s pace.

His simple but profound advice to those planning Christmas and holiday parties is: ‘Cancel and celebrate later instead of celebrating now and grieving later!’

With the majority of those hospitalized for Omicron worldwide being unvaccinated and only diagnosed after admission for other causes and the ‘infection’ rate most likely being three to four times the number of ‘cases’ diagnosed, the advice is that any partying this weekend should be at home and in small numbers – and all protocols should be observed in full while the factual knowledge-base about Omicron remains virtually empty.

But the actual fact is that this is The Caribbean where we continue to believe and behave like COVID-19 is supposed to observe holidays and allow us the freedom to party because, in our case (to quote the legendary Saint Lucian broadcaster Willie James) ‘This is Saint Lucia, where we are happy!’

So, Santa hats are out, Christmas trees are lighting and everything is being done everywhere (as if) to encourage people to do whatever they feel they can or should to observe their annual sacred duty to celebrate the birth of Christ across Christendom.

In Norway, Santa is complaining this is the worst Christmas he’s ever seen; and in the USA, he’s had to hire over a thousand assistants to help take cheers to children in tears who’ve lost parents or siblings to COVID in any of its forms.

Here too – and across the Caribbean – Santa is still planning to come to town.

But, as our singer warns, Santa will most likely on Friday night have to be coming to town much differently, if only because of the difference of this Second COVID Christmas – this time with Delta and Omicron having violently replaced Rudolph as Santa’s main transporters for 2021.

Indeed, the song also prepares us for the virtual Omicron Santa coming for Christmas 2021…

It’s making a list
Checking who’s masked
Ready to pounce without being asked
‘Cause OMICRON is coming to town…

It knows when you’ve been boostered
And knows when you have wheezed
Don’t care if you’re young or old
It’ll bring you to your knees…
Oh, you’d better watch out
I’m not gonna lie
It’s time to lay low,
I’m telling you why…
‘Cause OMICRON is coming to town!

But be all that as it may sound, there are still those Christians everywhere who feel they can observe Christmas and escape Omicron because they are Godly – and it isn’t.

A goodly doctor is virtually playing Ludo with my mind by ‘pappyshowing’ the Medical and Dental Council and offering to pay her official $10,000 fine with ‘Monopoly Money’.

Her supporters planned a Sunday vigil in the old Columbus Square to collect signatures to back the toy-paper money she’s promised to pay the State for daring to charge her for observing her assumed right to wrong the laws of the land, with impunity, by simply choosing to dismiss and reject them.

The doctor’s supporters say the petition drive (of which I heard nothing since Sunday) was to force the Prime Minister to repeat a pledge he’s made before and after the last General Elections — as if they don’t believe him or simply want him to give them a reassurance of an assurance he’s already offered as insurance.

But then, they also completely and selectively reject the medical science and latest global trends, refuse to acknowledge the significance of the numbers and totally dismiss all truths about the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

The reasons and arguments offered to support their outlawed medical product are (mostly) both close to virtually ridiculous and far-fetched from actual reality, spitting in the face of the facts just because they don’t fit their very-selective narrative – whether as outright anti-vaxxers, or unrelenting proponents that Governments here and elsewhere should simply spit in the WHO’s face and adopt their proposed treatment, without providing convincing arguments.

The Doubting Thomases do have their rights to continue to doubt, but their reasons and arguments can and do add-up to the fact that what they’re proposing will, in effect, prolong the time we spend with COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Delta and Omicron.

So, I end with the rest of the song I highly recommend for all — and definitely prescribe for the Goodly Doctor and her agitated supporters:

No more of those excuses
Time’s up for those delays
Let’s help each other through this
Severe pandemic phase…
So, you better not wait
Please listen to me
Let’s all vaccinate:
One shot — and it’s free
Because Omicron is coming to town…

And, to those still in doubt (for any number of understandable reasons), I end this six-part series on the global Omicron experience with the rest of my favorite 2021 Christmas song:

Too soon to tell
Just how it’ll work
But now ain’t the time
To act like a jerk
‘Cause Omicron is coming…
Yes, Omicron is coming…
To Town!

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