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Bite your tongue



The Washington Post, in an article on Saturday, branded the conjecture that Omicron has a silver lining as “arm-waving” at worst, a term the respected US media company said serious scientists employ as a pejorative.

They’re mostly sold on social and the traditional media, and last week, as more Covid-19 cases were recorded locally, at least one more talking head from a group monitoring the pandemic joined the voices of those who called the Omicron strain of the coronavirus as possibly “the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”

The person even claimed that Omicron may act as a “natural vaccine.” His reason: those who survive Omicron infection will get antibodies to protect them “not only against Omicron but against the Delta, Gamma, Beta, Alpha and D614G” variants.

Stopping short of calling him irresponsible, the Department of Health (DoH) directed its response to the public, reminding the populace that the higher the number of infections, the greater also is the chance of the virus to replicate and reproduce “that could lead to more fatal outcomes.”

Translated, it means greater chances for the virus to mutate. That’s why we have Omicron and the various other strains.

Also on Saturday, Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus, has claimed to have discovered another Covid-19 variant that combines both the Delta and Omicron strains.

He called it Deltacron. Another media company, Bloomberg, said Deltacron was found in 25 people in Cyprus.

Kostrikis is confident this new strain could be displaced by Omicron — a more contagious variant — in the future, but he admitted that it’s only his “personal view.”

Even scientists resort to this nowadays as the world races to beat the pandemic, including local experts who had to be called out by their peers lest false hopes and beliefs are created.

The Post wrote that “even the experts promoting the idea concede that it is an educated guess — and is contingent upon the virus itself, which has repeatedly surprised experts and may generate new variants that are more dangerous than Omicron.”

One such was Robert Wachter, chief of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, who has used social media to share his speculation that Omicron could carry long-term benefits.

“Every prediction about the future has to come with the parenthesis that there could be another variant that screws this up,” he said, putting his foot on the break after earlier suggesting that people would have some level of immunity to the virus after exposure.

We have heard that same claim before, of course, and now we’re seeing Filipinos — friends and family members even — contracting the disease twice or thrice already and in short spans of time.

More scientists reacted with pushbacks, reminding their dangerously noisy peers that too much remains unknown about the virus and that issuing forecasts — through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites — do not help the fight.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned on Thursday that Omicron infections should not be described as mild. It continues to kill people and send more patients to overwhelmed, overcrowded hospitals.

There is no scientific evidence that the virus has settled into a milder state. Only the people’s confidence has reached that level, especially after the interest of business was considered by the various governments of the world during the holidays.

Instead of being resigned to being exposed to the virus, however, we should learn to respect it more in order to help the health experts and the authorities beat the virus.

Reasonable precautions are being demanded from us, along with reasonable curbs that would allow a slow transition to normality.

No jolts, no quick moves, no haphazard decisions, however.

Moreso, no fake news. No irresponsible statements.

Covid-19 does not offer us any room for mistakes.