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Opinion | Fear and Uncertainty Over the Omicron Variant

To the Editor:

Re “New Variant Stirs Fears of Setback; Travel Bans Rise” (front page, Nov. 27):

Once again the news — a new variant out of Africa — is proving that until the whole world gets a handle on this pandemic, no place is out of the woods, no matter how well that particular place seems to be coping.

And there really is only one way to do that, and we all know what it is. It starts with vaccines and a nimble approach using and respecting science, and ends with the whole world understanding that fact and doing something about it.

It also means that folks who are anti-globalization ideologically and using that ideology to score political points are part of the problem. Without international cooperation, coordination and communication, we are in for much more of the same.

The world is global, and there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. So all this nationalism that is rearing its ugly head is sad to see.

Mark Eisenman
Toronto

To the Editor:

Unless all international travel is stopped, banning flights from a few or several countries is not going to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

What makes no sense is that as government leaders sit around and ponder and dither about what flight restrictions they might impose, proof of vaccination and a negative rapid Covid-19 test are not a prerequisite to boarding an international or domestic flight.

Given the greater threat from Covid-19 than from international terrorists, passengers should be screened for carrying Covid as well as full-sized shampoo bottles.

It is maddening to watch the untold harm being inflicted by anti-vaxxers. But it is even more disheartening to see supposedly intelligent government leaders musing on wrongheaded solutions.

Eugene D. Cohen
Phoenix

To the Editor:

While I am no epidemiologist, it seems to me that Covid will be around for the next decade at least, though under some control, requiring vaccines annually perhaps. We may therefore expect more variants following Omicron.

Unless we find that Omicron or its successors are indeed much more dangerous, I wonder at the panic shown by governments and the stock market.

Let us hope, rather, that this strain is susceptible to our vaccines, and that perhaps the refuseniks may finally see the light and join the rest of us.

One thing I do see is the likelihood that Republicans will blame President Biden!

Steven Chinn
Bronx

To the Editor:

A year ago, we were in the midst of “six feet of kindness” as we struggled with finding and providing goodness amid the challenges of a new pandemic. Today, we need to continue that focus with new variants of kindness as we traverse this ever-changing virus.

Provide a ride to a senior in the neighborhood for a booster shot. Volunteer at a local school, a food pantry, a homeless shelter or other place where illness and quarantines have multiplied the need for assistance. Contact local school board members to thank them for their thoughtful decision-making on masking, quarantines and vaccinations. Continue to address those who question your science-based practices with accurate facts and a voice of calm and reason.

Meet new virus variants with your own variants of kindness, and keep the goodness going.

Barb Duster Friedhoff
Wooster, Ohio

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