By Newt Gingrich
The Omicron variant made its way to America not that long ago, sending many people back into the abyss of fear that the COVID-19 pandemic has made commonplace. The question is, “Is that fear warranted?”
The White House would have you believe that Omicron is something to be concerned about, but past precedent shows that as viruses mutate, they become less severe. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has said as much. In a recent interview, the highly-controversial doctor admitted, “[T]he ratio between the number of infections and the number of hospitalizations seems to be less than with delta.” One doctor on the front lines in South Africa remarked that those who have been infected with Omicron have been able to remain at home as the virus runs its course. Thus, it would seem the White House is at odds with doctors from every end of the spectrum – a common theme for the administration.
On the latest episode of my podcast, Newt’s World, I sat down with Dr. Marty Makary who is a surgical oncologist and chief of the Johns Hopkins Islet Transplant Center, a professor at John Hopkins School of Medicine, a clinical lead for the Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub, and the author of the book The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care – And How to Fix It. Dr. Makary and I discussed Omicron, the medical community’s response to COVID-19, and what we need to know going into the holidays.
According to Dr. Makary, the Omicron variant is one of many variants that he believes to have originated within the animal population somewhere in South Africa – something he noted we will see in perpetuity. However, he said our partial immunity is enough to reduce the risk from severe illness to a mild, common, cold type infection. He advised Americans that we are now entering the endemic phase of COVID-19, and we must learn to live with it in the same way that we have learned to live with the flu, RSV, and other viruses.
Up until this point, Dr. Makary has had serious issues with almost every aspect of the COVID-19 strategy – from failure to warn of it, the lack of a reopening strategy in the spring of last year, school closings, vaccine allocation, and summer camps. Now we are seeing another disaster with the handling of Omicron. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has failed to provide real-time data and has avoided conducting experiments. The world economy is on hold. Markets are in whiplash. People want to know if anyone has died from the latest variant, suffered severe illness, or been hospitalized. There have been more than 50 cases in the United States. The CDC should be telling us about those cases on a dashboard, but they are not.
For now, as we look toward Christmas and New Year’s, Dr. Makary reminds Americans that the risk of severe illness is not evenly distributed among the population. So, as we gather with friends and family in the next couple of weeks, he suggests looking out for those at risk – the elderly and those with preexisting conditions – while going about life as usual and enjoying all the holiday season has to offer.
America cannot afford hysteria and over-reaction much longer.
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