The Omicron COVID variant turned out to be a “good news-bad news” scenario. The good news is that it has been shown to be relatively benign, much less likely than previous strains to severely or kill fully vaccinated people.
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The bad news is that it is spreading at what ex-President Donald Trump might describe as ‘warp speed’. Additionally, the Omicron variant disproportionately infects – and sometimes kills – unvaccinated Americans.
But now there is finally some good news. Trump is now urging his staunchly dedicated supporters to get vaccinated. Almost a year late at the party, the former resident is finally convinced that this about-face will be to his political advantage.
Still, things will clearly get worse before they start to improve, perhaps next spring when the weather warms up. The daily number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise sharply, as will the number of Americans who achieve immunity.
Epidemiologists agree that herd immunity will be achieved when between eighty to ninety percent of a country’s population is fully vaccinated or has recently contracted the virus. At this point, the virus will have stopped spreading.
But will this state of grace ever be achieved in the United States? Will Trump’s conversion and the immunizing effects of the Omicron virus be enough to bring us to collective immunity?
To get vaccinated
Currently, 62% of all Americans are fully immunized. We are far behind China, South Korea and Spain, all of which have achieved vaccination rates of over eighty percent.
Even more depressing, we have already reaped most of our fruits at hand. Those most receptive to being shot have already done so. Mainly those left behind are the great horde of Trump supporters – the vast majority of whom would be loath to abandon their freedom-loving opposition, even if their dear leader has just told them it is finally time to do so.
Getting an additional twenty to thirty percent of our citizens to agree to be vaccinated is to persuade the anti-vaccine hard core to do an about-face. It would require a major miracle that even “a very stable genius” would struggle to achieve.