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Against Coronadoom

Don't worry too much, OK?

This will probably be an unpopular post, but I think it’s important.

I’ve studied my own analytics enough to know what kind of content does well, what kind of content does OK, and what kind of content goes nowhere. Doomer posts travel far, and there’s a huge incentive for everyone writing on Corona, from the humble eugyppius all the way up to journalist hacks like Christina Berndt, to make the Apocalypse out of things that are merely somewhat bad.

This worries me, because many Eurozone politicians and bureaucrats are hoping to re-impose restrictions in the Fall. The line is that Omicron may not be that bad right now, but there are probably new and scary variants in the post, which will require a return to lockdowns and test requirements and vaccine mandates and masks and all the rest of it.

I want you to notice that this is exactly the same prognostication that certain dissident thinkers are fond of making, often with the additional premise that these variants will be caused or driven by the vaccines and prey primarily upon the vaccinated. I get that there is moral vindication in such scenarios, but most people are vaccinated, so the difference between Karl Lauterbach’s belief that scary variants are coming to kill everybody, and the dissident view that scary variants are coming to kill the vaccinated, is in practical terms quite small. These are the same speculative arguments, lightly tweaked for different readerships.

I’ll always defer to what the evidence shows. Very bad things can certainly happen in the future, but there is no evidence that bad things are happening right now, or that bad things are impending. All the speculation about killer variants to come is unsupported and really not worth worrying about.

Everything on the Corona front has been the same since January:

1) The virus has gone from somewhat bad (pre-Omicron) to somewhat less bad (post-Omicron).

2) The vaccines have had somewhat bad consequences in terms of driving transmission upwards, but the mildness of Omicron has spared us the wages of our imprudence here.

3) The most probable scenarios for the coming winter range from somewhere on the spectrum of not very bad to somewhat bad. I think it’s very likely influenza comes back and steals the show from Omicron. It already put in a brief, small, late-season appearance in some places.

In my last post, I tried to show that nobody is really dying of Corona anymore, and that their deaths stopped in the middle of the Winter season. The reason was the arrival of newer, Omicron strains, which resemble some kinds of attenuated influenza vaccines (and the milder human-infecting coronaviruses), in that they can replicate well only in the upper respiratory tract.

Countries will still post substantial Corona death numbers, but that’s just because Omicron is very pervasive. In general, more people die with Omicron than from Omicron. We see this in the carefully tabulated Danish data, where they distinguish both kinds of deaths:

Cream colour: “Deaths with covid”; rusty red colour: “Deaths of Covid”. The other two categories (“Awaiting death certificate” and “not yet validated”) don’t matter.

Infection and death statistics were always bad and misleading, but they’ve become basically meaningless with Omicron. That’s why it’s important to ignore official Corona numbers, and focus relentlessly on excess mortality and overall rates of respiratory illness instead.

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