Take it easy with Omicron hysteria

A report has found that most positive cases of Covid-19 in Tshwane were 'incidental findings' as most of the patients were admitted to hospital for reasons other than Covid-19.
A report has found that most positive cases of Covid-19 in Tshwane were 'incidental findings' as most of the patients were admitted to hospital for reasons other than Covid-19.
Image: South African Medical Research Council website

Omicron, the latest coronavirus variant, has gripped the imagination of the global media and by extension the imagination of the world, punctuated by breathless announcements. Omicron phobia has become our new social password as mass hysteria replaces sanity and logic.

We are certainly not facing an apocalypse as the virus spreads with deniers on one side of the spectrum and alarmists on the other. The current hysteria has been exacerbated by the intense media coverage, leading to an increase in anxiety disorders. A swirl of unfounded rumours, spread by text messages and social media, are deeply alarming.

The Covid-19 virus, to quote Churchill, "Is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. When every confused citizen with a cellphone becomes a reporter and the most ridiculous information becomes a viral ‘fact’, it’s frightening what damage it could cause.

Amidst the clamour for urgent action to combat the virus, we must exercise caution and remain positive as the situation evolves. We have survived countless medical emergences in our lifetime, Covid-19 will be treated with medical prowess at our disposal.

Patience and calm are needed. We are not as resilient or robust in responding to outbreaks as we could be because so many people lack basic medical care and are living in absolute squalor, a pivotal factor in arresting the spread of the virus. Unwarranted hysteria and fake news must be dealt with.

Like all the medical crises that confronted mankind we will with our advanced capabilities contain this encroaching medical storm. Absolute adherence to hygiene and clinical awareness will save us from becoming victims. The wearing of masks and proper handwashing are the most powerful tools we have to ward off Omicron this summer.

Farouk Araie, Actonville, Benoni

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