The latest announcement of a new Covid-19 variant has sent the world into a fresh wave of panic. The discovery of Omicron sent markets into freefall and the doctor who discovered the variant has been “stunned” by the world’s response. In an op-ed, South African doctor Angelique Coetzee slammed countries’ harsh responses to the variant.
The Daily Wire reports:
Angelique Coetzee, the chair of the South African Medical Association who has been a general practitioner for 33 years, started by writing, “I have seen a lot over my medical career. But nothing has prepared me for the extraordinary global reaction that met my announcement this week that I had seen a young man in my surgery who had a case of Covid that turned out to be the Omicron variant.”
Noting that the Omicron variant “had been circulating in southern Africa for some time, having been previously identified in Botswana,” she added, “But given my public-facing role, by announcing its presence in my own patient, I unwittingly brought it to global attention. Quite simply, I have been stunned at the response – and especially from Britain.And let me be clear: nothing I have seen about this new variant warrants the extreme action the UK government has taken in response to it.”
In South Africa, we’ve retained a sense of perspective. We’ve had no new regulations or talk of lockdowns because we’re waiting to see what the variant actually means. We’ve also become accustomed here to new Covid variants emerging. So when our scientists confirmed the discovery of yet another, nobody made a huge thing of it. Many people didn’t even notice.
She suggested, “If, as some evidence suggests, Omicron turns out to be a fast-spreading virus with mostly mild symptoms for the majority of the people who catch it, that would be a useful step on the road to herd immunity. … We’ll learn in the next two weeks if that’s the case. The worst situation – of course – would be a fast-spreading virus with severe infections. But that’s not where we are at the moment.”
Despite Dr. Coeztee’s rational response to the discovery of a new variant, world leaders have spared no time in overreacting. Recently, President Biden restricted travel to multiple South African countries, a move similar to his predecessor’s when Covid-19 first emerged in China.