Just when you thought it was safe to live your life again, a new coronavirus variant has emerged. “Omicron,” the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet and thirteenth iteration of COVID-19, which conspicuously skipped over the letter “Xi”, threatens to keep us all locked down just a little bit longer to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve” while public health officials do their darnedest to eradicate the virus, which they will never succeed at doing because there will always be another variant.
Viruses mutate. Viruses that contain RNA as their genetic material, such as coronaviruses and influenza, mutate even more than others. There are four species of influenza, each comprising dozens of subtypes and hundreds of subtype combinations. Despite widespread annual vaccinations and the best efforts of public health experts, influenza continues to spread, as it has since antiquity, and to kill upwards of 650,000 people each year.
At least some part of COVID-19 appears to have originated in bats, making eradication even less likely. As Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, explained to the scientific journal Science, “There is no disease in the history of humankind that has disappeared from the face of the Earth when zoonotic disease was such an important part of, or played a role in, the transmission.” In other words, COVID-19—like influenza and the coronaviruses that cause the common cold—is here to stay.
Even if biology had not fated endless COVID variants, politics would have. Powerful interests in elected government, the administrative state, and putatively private enterprise seized upon the coronavirus to grow their wealth and power. So despite a low infection fatality rate, widespread vaccines, and effective treatments, our cynical ruling class has every incentive to prolong the sense of crisis.
“I think we need to just get our mindset that the virus is still in control,” warns William Schaffner, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “I don’t care about your COVID fatigue.” But the virus is not in control of anything; people are. In the old American republic, the people controlled the government through their elected representatives within boundaries set by the Constitution. In the new American oligarchy, unaccountable technocrats restructure society according to their own whims no matter what the people want, and they justify their rule by the dubious claim that they represent “science.”
The more COVID mutates, the more the symptoms remain the same: cough, fever, and the loss of our rights and way of life, which unlike our senses of smell and taste will not return once we have recovered from the virus. Biological science ensures that the “omicron” variant will become the “pi,” then the “rho,” then the “sigma,” and so on. Political science ensures that our rulers will exploit each new variant to maintain the power they’ve already taken, to scare the people into submission, and to seize whatever else they can squeeze out of us.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.