Letters & Opinion

The Global Omicron Experience 2022 Part 13: Time to Stop the Pandemic Pappyshow!

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Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

Those who thought we were anywhere even-close to kissing or kicking COVID-19 goodbye can start thinking again, as 2021 ended and 2022 provided all the evidence we needed –from the arrival of Omicron last November to the start of the 5th COVID Wave — that the virus had itself become a super-spreader, no longer depending on the sloth of person-to-person contamination.

As Omicron joined Delta, scientists were forced into a double-backpedal by the new variants spreading faster but with less hospitalizations and deaths, leading to earlier panic being tamed by analyses that since the new kid on the virus block was a ‘milder’ variant, guards could be lowered.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that even though considered ‘milder’, Omicron was as bad a variant as all and accompanying Delta made people twice as vulnerable in a situation where The Unvaccinated were already 50-times more vulnerable.

Now it’s been revealed that Omicron mainly attacks persons who’ve already had COVID — meaning both vaccinated and unvaccinated are vulnerable to then-new super-spreader.

Read the following story out of the USA, headlined New COVID-19 variant detected in at least 40 different countries by Lexi Nahl, published on Monday, January 24th 2022:

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — As Omicron cases fall across some parts of the United States, international health officials are now warning about a new variant.

“BA.2″ is a sub-variant of omicron and has been labeled “variant under investigation” by health officials in the United Kingdom who say they are now monitoring the newest strain.

Also dubbed “stealth omicron,” the World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting cases of BA.2 in more than 40 countries including the U.S., India, Germany and Australia.

It’s not clear where this mutation originated or whether vaccines are effective against this new strain, but infectious disease experts say that people who have experienced breakthrough infections with Omicron could have enhanced immunity, or what some are calling “super immunity.”

“People who have gotten a breakthrough infection are probably going to be in really great shape moving forward,” Thomas Unnasch, a USF Health Professor at the College of Public Health told CBS12 News. “How long that immunity will last we don’t know…”

Experts are now exploring whether people who had the vaccine and Omicron could develop “super immunity,” and be better protected against BA.2.

“Omicron is acting like a super booster,” Unnasch said. “People who have gotten Omicron are going to be really well protected against infection, not just disease moving forward, which is a really good sign.”

As seen with Delta and Omicron, it’s just a matter of time before this new ‘stealth’ super-spreader variant lands in the Caribbean.

With Omicron and Delta surfing alongside on the 5th wave, spikes lowering too-slow-for-comfort and no guarantee people will obey protocols any more for Independence observances in February than for Christmas 2021 and New Year’s Day, Saint Lucia cannot but get more serious.

It’s encouraging that the Prime Minister has refused to bow to demands by those politicizing the pandemic to take mandating or requiring citizens to protect themselves off the table.

Omicron still hasn’t been detected here, but the recent alarming spike in numbers has led to Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre pleading with citizens to ‘Get Vaccinated!’ and health authorities urging all to take jabs and get boosters – all this while the Opposition Leader continues to politicize the pandemic and anti-vax messaging continue taking stronger root nationally.

Interestingly, news and evidence of the effects of the Omicron super-spread forced more Saint Lucians to go get tested after the holidays, resulting in a higher-than-normal number of new cases detected.

As President of the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) Dr Merle Clark correctly said recently, “We cannot expect to be protected against every wave…” so people have to start taking care of themselves and recognizing the rights of others to not have their protection violated.

And those advising people to opt to effectively risk committing suicide in the name of defending their ‘rights’ need to reminded that such advice is not only deadly and fatal, but may very well also be illegal.

The call by Dr Clarke for government to take stronger action sooner than later must not be allowed to fall on deaf ears.

But the government must also stop sending mixed messages on issues like opening-and-closing of schools and crowd-limits.

It’s also got to that stage where the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the coordinating body NEMAC need to be more actively engaged in the ongoing COVID national emergency, especially as they already have working structures in place while the National COVID-19 Management Center (NCMC) is still reconfiguring itself from a Command Center to an advisory body.

The government is insisting on persuasively encouraging anti-COVID self-control, but Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet’s best prescription for the virus and all its variants is for the present government to do now what he never did in 16 months: ban alcohol sales.

Of course, such bans have worked nowhere and only resulted here in creative persons inventing easy modern-day versions of the early 20th Century phenomenon in the USA of sourcing and distribution of a prohibited drug (rum) — and here today, has increased the tendency for people who imbibe to simply ‘Stay and Drink at Home’.

Meanwhile, Vaccine Conspiracy Theorists continue to bombard the population (morning, noon and night) with both unverified and unverifiable information and the media continues to churn-out more information from around-the-globe that helps some widen their sources, but ends-up confusing most with stories ranging from ‘How you may not get COVID from being among persons who’ve tested positive’ to ‘Bill Gates is now withdrawing his support for vaccination…’

And in the midst of it all, our numbers continue to rise more than fall, as people panic in uncertainty.

But it’s time for all to stop the National Pandemic Pappyshow!

Enough is enough…

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