Time to snap out of our COVID funk 

Dear Editor,

We have suffered two years of lockdowns, excess viral deaths, unemployment, economic damage, and crime.

Children, despite being the cohort least at risk to COVID, have suffered the most. They have missed out on academic progress, as well as emotional and social development in their key years.

Toddlers, in this delicate and all too important stage of learning, have been forced to wear masks and interact with others wearing masks — obscuring facial recognition and losing out on the ability to discern expression and mood from the subtle contours of the face.

We do not know the full cost of these measures. We cannot know and will not know for many years until they turn 18 and we see how these problems manifest in young adulthood — but we do know that we did it to protect them from a virus that posed an infinitesimally small risk (less than one in 10 million, or 30 times our population).

Nevertheless, we did not know much of this at the time. Governments tend to err on the side of safety, to avoid being sorry.

The Free National Movement and Dr. Minnis administration could be forgiven for their COVID strategy, warts and all. But, today, after two (really three) years of data from 195 countries, multiple vaccines spanning two domains of nucleic acid, holistic remedies, and enough oral antivirals to sink a ship, continuing with bad policy would truly be unforgivable.

It is time for us to move forward.

Omicron is here, and it is a godsend. Despite the media’s exuberance in announcing any micro-evolutionary variation large enough to constitute a “novel strain”, Omicron really does seem to be different. Different means change, and change can be scary. Omicron, however, is different in a good way.

The most important consequence of Omicron is its level of contagion. It will infect even the most stubborn anti-vaxxers without impunity.

The biggest argument for lockdowns and other restrictive measures from the government has been the population’s collective refusal to become 100 percent vaccinated.

As long as one Bahamian remains unvaccinated, the medical establishment has seen it fit to advise authoritarianism. After all, we are in year three, on our second administration, and our newest health czar has canceled the Christmas carnival.

Indoor gatherings are restricted to a max of 20 people, and outdoor to 30. Omicron eliminates this argument, defanging government and offering with it a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

It will become dominant. We will all get it. Few will die. We will all become immune.

Omicron is the best Christmas present our small island nation, and indeed the world, could hope for. Rather than the lump of coal it has been portrayed to be, it is in fact a diamond we should all be gracious to receive.

I implore you, dear editor, and all Bahamians, to rejoice in the gift of Omicron this COVID Christmas.

We should shake off the two years of depression and malaise inflicting our nation, snap out of our COVID funk, crack open a bottle of champagne, and dive into 2022 as a nation that is truly serious about its commitment to living a life filled with rum, fun, and sun!

Alex Holden

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