Ominous omicron

Dear President Biden,

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving last Thursday? I hope so. And did you observe National Native American Heritage Day on Friday? I hope so.

As for us, the less said about the whole Thanksgiving deal the better. I will tell you, though, that 3 of the 3 people we invited couldn’t come because they were either recovering from COVID or were worried they had it. Not good.

Which brings me to ominous omicron and how it fits right into the shit show that is the disastrous global COVID response.

First, there’s the lack of vaccine supply for poor and developing countries. I know you know this, but COVID is a lot like climate change – if we don’t take care of everyone, we might buy some time (literally) for wealthier countries, but we’ll all still be hosed. How is it that we haven’t learned this lesson well enough to put it into practice meaningfully?

Along these lines, what about using the Presidential Emergency Powers Act to compel Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to make their vaccine recipes available to the whole world? It sure seems like this is a situation that’s already a full tilt emergency for US and for the whole world. And, really, it could well be an off the charts emergency domestically if omicron ends up being even scarier than delta and it’s introduced into the vast swaths of loyal GOP voters in red states who are now being paid to refuse vaccines.

O. M. G.

If you can’t go the Emergency Powers route and can only use presidential wile and maybe the promise of a medal of honor (whatever it takes), it would make the most sense to work on J & J’s CEO, Alex Gorsky. Their vaccine doesn’t have to be kept super cold and it’s effective with only one dose so it seems like a no brainer that that’s the one we should focus on getting out to people in Africa and anywhere else that is vaccine-poor.

Second, there’s the issue of the travel restrictions and how lacking I think they are. I don’t actually know whether it makes sense to restrict travel to and from all of the African countries on the list – it seems logical but now that omicron has been detected in at least 15 countries outside of Africa, why aren’t they on the list?

The real issue, to me, though, is that you’re still letting people fly (and take trains) without requiring proof of vaccination. What is up with that? If you can require large employers to mandate vaccines for their workers, surely you can get the same deal in place for the airlines and Amtrak. Not only would this limit the spread of COVID by unvaccinated people, but it would almost certainly all but eliminate the dangerous assaultive behaviors that so freaking many unvaccinated people have been engaging in against airline attendants. Yes, indeedy it would cause a bellow for the ages by the anti-vaxers – including the nut jobs in Congress – and yes, it would require extra armed guards be stationed at all TSA check points and Amtrak check-ins. But so what? The longer we mess around with stupid half-measures, the more people will die. It’s super simple. And super awful.

I’ve already mentioned it, but the third horrifying vector in all of this is the GOP’s apparent willingness to sacrifice a large number of their supporters to COVID by not only brainwashing them against the vaccines but paying them when they are let go from their jobs because they won’t do what they need to do to keep themselves and their families safe. It’s as though the evil propelling the leaders of the GOP knows no bounds. Truly – they’re sick, traitorous m.f.’s.

May we all be safe.
May we all be willing to take care of everyone.
May we all have the strength and courage to go all in for the common good.
May we all accept that there are no passes – for any of us – if we mess this up.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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