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Pandemic Update

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Over the last few days, I have thought of at least six posts I might write on the pandemic and started three of them, now trashed by events. I am going to write this one straight through and get it posted before something else happens.

The rapid spread of Omicron and its different characteristics from Delta have changed the game, not to mention that we have viruses in circulation with different characteristics. There is a lot we don’t know yet about Omicron and probably won’t for some weeks.

There is also far too much misinformation, disinformation, and wishful thinking circulating on social media. Please don’t retweet people you don’t know or add your non-expert takes to the din. Please.

The CDC released guidance on recovery and going back to work. Every official decision right now is the result of combining not enough data with public health guidelines with expected political and emotional pushback and professional best judgment. I have given up second-guessing. This thread and the one embedded in it indicate why.

It can’t be said enough times that back in June 2021, things were looking up because of the vaccines, and that was when the Republican Party ramped up its hardline push in favor of death and disease. Yes, Delta showed up too, but in a country where public health was uniformly valued, it would have had less of an effect.

I’ve come to look at the pandemic in terms of getting transmission down, and I think that’s still a good frame. The only way we will get back to anything resembling “normal” is to get the transmission down. That’s going to take a while, although what we see of Omicron’s characteristics, it’s possible we could have a peak through January and then be in a much better position by March.

We don’t have enough tests.

We’re not thinking enough about long Covid. More about this later.

Nor are we thinking enough about vaccinating the world. More about this too.

The good thing is that we know what we need to do: Get vaccinated and boosted, mask up around other people, distance as much as possible, avoid large numbers of people indoors.

Stay safe, y’all, and keep the noise down.

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner

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