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Remember how they said Omicron wasn’t hitting South Africa hard because people there had immunity from prior infections?
Yeah, that was another lie. It’s just much less dangerous, period. A new study has the real numbers (in the appendix, as usual).
In December, the panic porners on Team Apocalypse had a problem.
They wanted you to be afraid of the Omicron variant. So afraid that you’d rush out to get a Covid vaccine booster.
Leave aside the fact that the desperation to boost for Omicron made no sense in any case. Aside from a few weeks of moderate protection at the absolute peak of antibodies following a second or third dose, studies from several countries show that the vaccines are effectively useless against Omicron.
Nonetheless. To the public health grandees, vaccines - and now boosters - are the answer, whatever the question. And they very clearly hoped Omicron would convince people to be boosted.
Which meant Omicron had to be dangerous.
Only it wouldn’t cooperate.
Even as Omicron cases exploded in South Africa, hospitalizations and death counts barely moved. In fact, they were lower than they had been at almost any point since the epidemic began.
The panic porners would have liked to give vaccines the credit, but they couldn’t. South Africa is barely vaccinated by American standards, much less European. Only about 1 in 4 South Africans is fully vaccinated, and boosters are basically nonexistent.
So they came up with a new theory.
It went like this: South Africans must have had very, very high rates of preexisting Covid infections, which gave them lots of natural immunity. Other countries probably had much less natural immunity and would be much more vulnerable to Omicron.
Never mind that this theory implicitly acknowledged that natural immunity was superior to the vaccine-generated kind.
Never mind that no one had ever suggested before that South Africa had had exceptionally high rates of coronavirus infections, or that its PCR test data and death rates were unremarkable by global standards, and far lower than the United States.
And never mind that only weeks before, the same panic porners had suggested that the Omicron variant can escape the immunity generated by previous infections (as does in fact appear at least partly to be the case, though natural B- and T-cell immunity is broader and deeper and far more useful than the vaccine-generated kind).
As stupid and self-contradictory as the explanation was, it was an explanation!
And an explanation was needed. For the answer could not simply be that Omicron was less dangerous than earlier variants, because that fact would destroy the booster campaign - and eventually raise even deeper questions about the push to vaccinate the world with barely tested biotechnologies.
Thus “South Africans have tons of natural immunity dontcha know” rapidly became the mantra of all the usual public health and media geniuses who have lied or been wrong or both about everything for the last two years.
Guess what? They were wrong this time too. (Shocker!) Only it didn’t take years or even months to get to the truth, it took weeks.
On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from researchers in South Africa about the Omicron variant. The paper purportedly showed that the Pfizer mRNA Covid vaccine remained somewhat effective against Omicron. (This finding probably occurred only because South Africa vaccinated very late - only 5 percent of its citizens were fully vaccinated before August - so most vaccinated people were still at peak protection when Omicron arrived, in those few weeks of the happy vaccine valley.)
In the letter, the South Africans reported on the results of about 200,000 people who had been tested for the coronavirus from September through early December - the period when Omicron surpassed Delta to become by far the dominant variant in South Africa. (No surprise, the results showed that people with Omicron were only about one-fifth as likely to be hospitalized as those with Delta.)
Anyway, buried in the appendix is a table (Supplementary Table 3) that includes different variables about the people who were tested - including their ages, where they lived, and this handy-dandy subgroup, whether or not they had a history of previous Sars-Cov-2 infection.
Just focus on the top line, cells one and four - those are the number and percentage of people who were tested who did NOT have a history of previous Covid infection (the first cell represents the September/October period, the fourth the November/early December period).
In other words, during the period when Omicron was taking off, the vast majority of South Africans had no history of a positive PCR test - no evidence they had been infected before.
Yep, they lied again. And got caught again. They always get caught, which is nice, but it would be even nicer if they didn’t lie.
The truth is turning out to be so simple even the public health experts and the media can’t hide it:
Omicron is less dangerous if you’ve been infected before, and less dangerous if you haven’t. It’s less dangerous if you’re fat, and less dangerous if you’re thin. It’s less dangerous if you’re old, less dangerous if you’re middle-aged, and less dangerous (as in probably so not-dangerous its dangers can’t even be measured) if you’re young.
It’s a cold. The only risk it represents is that our massive testing infrastructure is now disrupting society. If we made everyone with a cold test and quarantine during the winter, we’d have lots of unnecessary economic, educational, and medical pain too.
The solution isn’t to pretend it’s dangerous. The solution is to stop testing for a cold.