I’m quoting the first three paragraphs from a CNN story, but this really doesn’t do it justice. Read the whole thing. Do not do what newspaper people expect you to do and only read the first few paragraphs. Read the whole fucking thing.
The BA.2 virus – a subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant – isn’t just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease and appears capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, new research suggests.
New lab experiments from Japan show that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta.
And like Omicron, it appears to largely escape the immunity created by vaccines. A booster shot restores protection, making illness after infection about 74% less likely.
Miriam Berger et al., “U.S.-Canada border crossing reopens after six-day blockade by ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters,” Washington Post, February 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/13/canada-freedom-convoy-border-blockades-truckers/
Amanda Coletta et al., “Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act against Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ trucker protest,” Washington Post, February 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/14/canada-ottawa-trucker-protests-bridge/
Paul Vieira and Kim Mackrael, “U.S.-Canada Bridge Reopens After Police Clear Protest,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/canadian-police-begin-to-clear-protesters-disrupting-cross-border-bridge-traffic-11644759497
Amol Rajan, “Novak Djokovic: I’m not anti-vax but will sacrifice trophies if told to get jab,” British Broadcasting Corporation, February 15, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60354068
Matthew Syed, “What Novak Djokovic revealed to me at lunch,” Times, February 16, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/matthew-syed-what-novak-djokovic-revealed-to-me-at-lunch-d85gv8jph
Ed Yong, “The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo,” Atlantic, February 16, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/02/covid-pandemic-immunocompromised-risk-vaccines/622094/
Amanda Coletta et al., “Ottawa arrests two ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest organizers as police chief vows to ‘take back’ city,” Washington Post, February 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/17/canada-freedom-convoy-ottawa-protest/
Melody Schreiber, “US has suffered more than 1m excess deaths during pandemic, CDC finds,” Guardian, February 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/17/us-excess-deaths-pandemic-cdc
Oriana Gonzalez, “Canadian police arrest over 100 people in trucker protests,” Axios, February 18, 2022, https://www.axios.com/police-ottawa-arrest-trucker-protest-covid-vaccine-ed06ea8a-d2bc-4c3c-8c04-3054dca17c88.html
Jean Yi, “COVID-19 Isn’t Going Anywhere — And Americans Know It,” FiveThirtyEight, February 18, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/covid-19-isnt-going-anywhere-and-americans-know-it/
Brenda Goodman, “As BA.2 subvariant of Omicron rises, lab studies point to signs of severity,” CNN, February 19, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/health/ba-2-covid-severity/index.html
Miriam Berger, “Police regain control of most of Canada’s capital, say protesters will continue to be identified and charged as holdouts persist,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/20/police-regain-control-most-canadas-capital-say-protesters-will-continue-be-identified-charged-holdouts-persist/
I share Anne Applebaum’s sense that we are betraying Ukraine, leaving it to face Russia alone. The question of what to do about it, how, really, to stop Vladimir Putin, however, is much harder. I honestly doubt that any country has the stomach for war with Russia and even if it did, everything I’ve seen of war is that it fails. The U.S. doesn’t even know how to win a war; it hasn’t won one since World War I (World War II was won mostly by the Soviet Union), unless you count Grenada and Panama, which are nowhere near the scale that this would be. So we’d be shedding blood not to save Ukraine, but only to increase the bloodshed.
And even if our presence somehow deterred or stopped an invasion, how long would we have to stay there? How long would Russia continue to be a threat?
The problem with this thinking is precisely what David Barash and Charles Webel point to in Peace and Conflict Studies. They distinguish between a peace achieved through force and a peace achieved by resolving the causes of the conflict. My question is whether, with Vladimir Putin and like-minded idiots in power in Russia, it is even possible to address those causes.
Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/
John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/
- Brenda Goodman, “As BA.2 subvariant of Omicron rises, lab studies point to signs of severity,” CNN, February 19, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/health/ba-2-covid-severity/index.html↩
- Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/↩
- David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).↩