Covid Advice #21 (03/05/2022):
Omicron and "Creating Needless Fear"
Omicron and "Creating Needless Fear"
- from Dr. Dennis Fong -
The picture that Omicron is so mild that Covid is irrelevant and that advocating preventive measures is just "creating needless fear," a picture that much of the media is giving, is wrong.
Here are some facts:
- Contra Costa Coounty daily Covid deaths are significantly higher than Delta ever was: 4.57 a day for the last month, that is, Feb. '22. The peak of Delta was only 3.06 a day for Sep. '21.
- California deaths are 189 a day for Feb. '22, again significantly higher than the peak of Delta, only 113 for Sept. '21.
- U.S. deaths are 2,279 a day for Feb. '22, again higher than Delta's peak, only 1,924 for Sept. '21.
- In fact, U.S. deaths are higher than any time since Covid started back in Mar. '20, except for the 3 months of Dec. '20 (2,554), Jan. '21 (3,083) and Feb. '21 (2,563), and that was before vaccination became widespread.
As for those who don't die from Omicron, including those with mild disease, nobody knows how much long-haul Covid there really is and besides long-haul Covid, whether there are any long term consequences. But Omicron is so much more infectious that today, Mar. 5, 2022, in barely 3 months there are almost just as many people infected with Omicron as in the two previous years of Covid.
Therefore Omicron is actually worse, not better, than both Delta and the original Covid, and it's not "creating needless fear" to advocate preventive measures.
Unfortunately, I think many of my vaccinated patients are believing the media and abandoning some preventive measures -- masking, social distancing especially when you ahve masks off, cleaning hands, cleaning or quarantining objects that come in, especially cold foods like vegetables, fruits and meats. I think that because all my Omicron cases (Covid cases since Dec. 22), and there are way more of them in the last 2+ months than all the Covid in the previous 2 years of Covid, have been vaccinated, and almost all of them triple vaccinated. Several of my Omicron cases have been sticking to preventive measures, but haven't been cleaning or quarantining objects that come in, cold foods included. It seems to me my unvaccinated patients are being more careful and so are not getting infected as often.
I say, if you want to live free from fear, do the exact opposite of what some people are advocting, which is to abandon preventive measures; instead of abandoning them, stick to them. When I am masked and I have my hand gel on my belt, I am not afraid to interact socially with people and touch things. I feel free to visit with and eat with people, just keep my mask on when close, and take off my mask to eat and drink together when socially distanced at different tables.
Historically, health preventive measures have often been denigrated as "creating needless fear" when they first come out. In the old days, people would say you were "creating needless fear" when you washed your hands after going to the bathroom. In fact, a doctor was drummed out of the profession for advocating disinfecting the hands before delivering babies to prevent infection in both mother and child, for exactly that reason: "creating needless fear." Only a few decades ago wearing seatbelts was denounced as "creating needless fear." Now, washing hands, especially for doctors, and wearing seatbelts have become second nature, routine habits people do without a thought. Now, it is the other way around with "creating fear"; it is when these measures aren't carried out that people feel fear.
By the way, if you haven't been cleaning or quarantining objects that come in including cold foods, start doing that now, because Omicron is way more widespread and way more infectious than Delta and the original Covid.
Covid is going to be around for a while, keep doing those prevnetive measures and they will become second nature, habits. You will also be able to live free from fear as well as from any possible long term consequences of Covid.
Of course, also keep up with your vaccinations and boosters, and stay healthy, happy, and active so that your immune system is in good shape.
Wish you happiness! Stay healthy!
← Advice #20                       Back to Covid-19 Page                       Advice #22 →