Omicron Panic Spreading as Some Schools Going Back to Remote Learning

“From ghoulies, and ghosties, and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night, dear Lord, deliver us!” (Old Cornish prayer)

The Celtic people who feared noises in the night would recognize the irrational angst of those in the United States who are overreacting to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

In fact, the panic being spread by the usual suspects — public health workers and politicians — is about to get a lot worse. In Maryland, New York, Missouri, and New Orleans, as well as several other jurisdictions across the country, kids are being told to stay home while parents are scrambling to set up child care or take more time off from work to care for their children.

There is absolutely no reason to close schools due to the coronavirus. There wasn’t much of a rationale last year when the pandemic began, and the evidence today suggests that any benefit in mitigating COVID-19 as a result of school closures is far outweighed by the disastrous effect on children of not attending class.

Closing schools is a panic move — exactly what public health officials and politicians should not be doing. Might as well put a headless chicken in charge, if this is what the reaction is going to be.


In upstate New York, officials announced that the Oswego City School District was transitioning to remote learning from Friday until Dec. 23 because of rising Covid cases, with 60 cases since last Sunday, and staffing shortages.

In Missouri on Monday, the South Nodaway School Board voted to cancel the rest of the fall semester and resume on Jan. 3 after the winter break because of district-wide shortages caused by Covid cases. And the St. Roch Catholic School in St. Louis said it would move to virtual classes this week and return after the winter break because too many students and teachers are out sick.

Not much is known about the omicron variant except that it spreads extremely easily. But our ignorance of almost everything about omicron isn’t stopping the usual suspects from acting as if the omicron variant is causing people to drop dead in the street.

This headline in the Daily Beast — the number one purveyor of COVID death porn — gives a taste of the panic to come: “Dropping Like Flies’: Omicron Brings Fresh COVID Hell to Cornell”

The Biden administration wants you, the voter, to know that they’re right on top of everything and are managing the omicron crisis as well as they’ve been managing everything else.

Be afraid.

The strategy, announced Friday, includes a “test to stay” approach where instead of mandatory quarantines for unvaccinated students identified as close contacts of a Covid-positive peer, those students could remain in school if they test negative for the virus at least twice during the week after an exposure.

The administration is seeking to head off major disruptions in schools as the omicron variant is expected to barrel into the upcoming holiday season. Schools are particularly vulnerable, with just 18 percent of kids ages 5 to 11 with at least one shot, as well as 61 percent of those ages 12 to 17, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For our VIP members: Good News Out of South Africa DESTROYS the Omicron Narrative

The omicron variant has already been found to be less severe in South Africa. But will it be less severe in the U.S.? That may not be the case, say public health worrywarts, but then again, it might be.


The big open-ended question right now centers on omicron’s severity: Does omicron cause milder disease, compared to previous variants? Does it thereby lower the risk of severe disease and hospitalization?

There’s no doubt everyone wants this to be the case. And some recent data out of South Africa sure makes it look like that might be the case. Researchers there have found that South Africans infected with omicron are, on average, less likely to end up in the hospital, and they also appear to recover more quickly from illness, compared to the other variants.

However, as many scientists have been pointing out, that evidence from South Africa could be misleading. The omicron variant may end up acting differently in the U.S.

The evidence “could be misleading.” Or, it could be 100% accurate, too — something that would disappoint those in the media and elsewhere who are praying for a more exciting variant.

Most Americans are going about their lives normally, omicron or not. That’s excellent advice and should be followed in the schools, the workplace, and even the press rooms of major media.

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