South Africa officials call travel bans over new Omicron variant “draconian, unjustified.”
As the media spent the Thanksgiving weekend ginning up hysteria over the Omicron variant of the SArc-cOv-2 virus, the pathogen that causes COVID, the real news about the risk level has been slower to escape South Africa.
According to that nation’s medical association experts, the Omicron variant causes ‘mild” health effects.
Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with Covid-19 symptoms that did not make immediate sense.
They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs the South African Medical Association alongside running her practice.
Coetzee provided an example of the severe cold/mild flu-like suite of symptoms she observed in one of the patients she treated.
“It actually started with a male patient who’s around the age of 33 … and he said to me that he’s just [been] extremely tired for the past few days and he’s got these body aches and pains with a bit of a headache,” she told the BBC.
The patient didn’t have a sore throat, she said, but more of a “scratchy throat” but no cough or loss of taste or smell — symptoms that have been associated with previous strains of the coronavirus.
Coetzee said she tested the male patient for Covid, and he was positive, as was his family, and then said she saw more patients that day presenting with the same kinds of symptoms that differed from the delta variant.
However, such a mild assessment won’t sell vaccines nor allow public health bureaucrats to savor power, influence, and media attention. For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, hinting that lockdowns could be on the horizon.
Americans need to be prepared to do “anything and everything” to fight the omicron Covid variant, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
Still, it’s “too early to say” whether lockdowns or new mandates will be appropriate, Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”
…“Inevitably, it will be here. The question is will we be prepared for it? If and when, and it’s going to be when, it comes here hopefully we will be ready for it,” Fauci added.
Biden is doubling down on everything that has failed to contain the virus already: Vaccinations, booster shots, and wearing masks in public places.
“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” Biden said. “We have more tools to fight the variant than we have ever had before.”
The calls for travel bans, such as the one implemented by Biden in the wake of the Omicron outbreak, are now being called “draconian” as many public officials are no longer accepting the current suite of failed COVID containment approaches.
South Africa’s health ministry on Friday attacked a global rush to impose travel bans to slow the spread of a new Covid variant as “draconian,” unscientific and contrary to WHO advice.
The new strain, named Omicron, has been blamed for a surge in cases in South Africa, but has already cropped up in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel and Botswana.
“We believe that some of the reactions have been unjustified,” Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a news conference, accusing some leaders whom he did not name of seeking a “scapegoat.”
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