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The appearance of a new COVID-19 variant is generating irrational reactions throughout the world. As if it were the early days of the pandemic, many European countries, and the United States, decided to restrict flights to and from Africa. This is complete nonsense.
We still don’t know much about this new variant, which the World Health Organization called Omicron. What we do know is what we have learned about the coronavirus, which has been subduing the world for two years now: it was never as lethal as we were originally told, it spreads rapidly but the vaccine neutralizes the risk of death.
Under these known premises, we must not join the crazy hysteria over the emergence of a variant. There have already been several mutations. Each time, the media and governments have presented a terrifying picture. Practically, the narrative is that the pandemic has not ended and will not end anytime soon. This is false.
No variant has proven to be more dangerous than the virus in its initial stage. No variant spread as fast as it was supposed to. But, with the emergence of the Omicron, panic returns, governments react and so do the markets. The Dow fell by 2.5%; so did the price of oil, to 13%.
The reality is that there should be panic but not directed at the coronavirus and its variants—which will always exist and with which we will have to live. The world should be terrified and must rabidly resist restrictive measures.
Biden criticized Trump for restricting flights to Africa and called him a xenophobe, but now he is doing the same. The truth is that when Trump did it, it made no sense, but now even less so. The vaccine is available, anyone who wants it can get it, and millions have already had the virus, so they are protected.
I insist: the pandemic is over. Now the great challenge is to confront the tyrannical measures of the supposedly democratic governments, which are gradually slicing away civil liberties. If there is one thing we should be left with, it is that economic shutdowns, quarantines, and segregation do far more damage than the coronavirus can do.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.