It was there, in conversation around the Thanksgiving table one year ago, and it turned out it had been all around us, wreaking havoc, for some time prior to that. “It” being the SARS-CoV-2 variant known as omicron.
The good news, back then, was that the average omicron infection was less deadly than its predecessors; the bad news: that the variant was more transmissible and would thus likely lead to higher caseloads of covid. One year later, unfortunately, it’s clear that the bad news has been borne out; since Thanksgiving 2021, covid has claimed roughly 300,000 lives in the U.S. alone.
All of which brings us to this week’s edition of “No Dumb Questions,” which you might say is a question rooted in hope: Is omicron the last variant? Or are we destined to learn new Greek names and the powers of whatever new variants lie on the horizon?
As Grid Public Health Reporter Jonathan Lambert has noted, “Many new flavors of omicron have emerged, rendering some once-effective treatments useless.” And as Lambert tackles the many answers to this week’s question, he makes clear that beyond those “new flavors,” there are unfortunately bound to be successors to omicron itself. It doesn’t help that the general approach of the American public is to relax and worry less than ever about wearing masks or taking other precautions. Meanwhile, covid is still taking the lives of nearly 300 people each day in the U.S. alone. In this week’s video, Lambert’s answer to this week’s question: Is omicron the last variant?
We’d love to hear from you with other ideas for the series. We like to think there are no “dumb questions”; or, put differently, that there’s almost nothing out there in the world of news and information that couldn’t use a little more clarity and context in terms of the answers. We also know that we have really smart readers, and that even the smartest among them can’t be expected to have every shred of important context or background on all the events that are roiling the world at any given moment. Send your ideas and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.