What will Omicron subvariant BA.2 do in the U.S.?

COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is prompting a surge in case counts in western Europe. In the past, such surges have been followed by similar surges in the U.S. This time might be (and, so far, is) different:[1]

A number of variables — including relaxed precautions against viral transmission, vaccination rates, the availability of antiviral medications and natural immunity acquired by previous infection — may affect the course of any surge in the United States, experts said.

Most importantly, it is unclear at this point how many people will become severely ill, stressing hospitals and the health-care system as BA.1 did.[2]

Jen Christensen and Holly Yan, “A 4th dose of Covid-19 vaccine will be needed, Pfizer’s CEO says, but the company is working on a shot to handle all variants,” Cable News Network, March 13, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/13/health/pfizer-vaccine-4th-dose/index.html

Keith Bradsher, “Surge of Omicron Infections Prompts Lockdowns in China,” New York Times, March 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/14/world/asia/china-covid-omicron-lockdowns.html

Laurie McGinley, Tyler Pager, and Carolyn Y. Johnson, “Pfizer and BioNTech to seek authorization of second coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older,” Washington Post, March 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/15/pfizer-second-booster-shot/

David Stanway and Roxanne Liu, “China’s soaring COVID infections fuel concern about cost of containment,” Reuters, March 15, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-reports-3602-new-confirmed-coronavirus-cases-march-14-vs-1437-day-earlier-2022-03-15/

Lenny Bernstein and Joel Achenbach, “A covid surge in Western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/16/covid-ba2-omicron-surge/


Molly Jong-Fast points to an ideological compatibility between Vladimir Putin and some Trumpists.[3] This would entail homophobia, transphobia, and conservative Christianity. But I think Trumpists also see Putin as strong—everybody else might mock photographs of a bare-chested Putin riding horseback but Trumpists are also deeply into toxic masculinity. Between these two factors, Putin is, for many Trumpists, irresistible.

In a way, it reminds me of the patriarch of that Jewish family-run vegan restaurant, Fortuitea, in North Strabane: He gets his information from the the same sources as anti-Semitic white supremacists; the dissonance I felt makes it impossible for me to patronize the place, a loss because the guy’s a brilliant cook and that restaurant is the closest vegan restaurant to where I now live. Similarly, supposedly left-wing “tankies” recite these extreme Trumpist conspiracy theories as they embrace anyone who’s against the U.S. or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[4] I’ve never been good at tolerating stupidity. These examples are of the asinine.

Associated Press, “Russia built an economy like a fortress but the pain is real,” March 10, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-europe-global-trade-economy-cd99ba45b1e36bb2ab80574eeaa69e4c

Daniel Boffey, “Western Europe leaders rebuff Ukraine fast-track EU membership appeal,” Guardian, March 10, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/10/western-europe-leaders-rebuff-ukraine-fast-track-eu-membership-appeal

Vladislav Davidzon, “No Quiet Place Left on Earth,” Tablet, March 10, 2022, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/no-quiet-place-left-on-earth

Steven L. Hall, “Putin doesn’t fear a coup by oligarchs. But he should fear his fellow spies,” Washington Post, March 10, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/03/10/putin-coup-russia-siloviki/

Julia Ioffe, “Inside Russia’s Media Black Hole,” Puck News, March 10, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-russias-media-black-hole/

Pavel Polityuk and Tuvan Gumrukcu, “Ukraine says Russia snubs plea for humanitarian access to besieged civilians,” Reuters, March 10, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-accuses-russia-genocide-after-bombing-childrens-hospital-2022-03-10/

Reuters, “Russia, Ukraine foreign ministers meet as war enters third week,” March 10, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-accuses-russia-genocide-after-bombing-childrens-hospital-2022-03-10/

William Vaillancourt, “Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin Sets Hannity Straight on Russian Propaganda,” Daily Beast, March 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/fox-news-jennifer-griffin-sets-hannity-straight-on-russian-propaganda

Kaitlan Collins et al., “Biden calls for suspending normal trade relations with Russia and will ban imports of vodka and seafood,” Cable News Network, March 11, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/10/politics/russia-trade-status-us-g7-eu-biden/index.html

Nick Gutteridge, “Russia ‘stockpiling bodies of Ukrainian soldiers’ to use in ‘false flag’ attack on Chernobyl,” Telegraph, March 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/11/vladimir-putin-planning-terror-attack-releasing-radioactive/

David Horovitz, “What does Putin think he’s doing? An expert’s primer on why he invaded, what’s next,” Times of Israel, March 11, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/what-does-putin-think-hes-doing-an-experts-primer-on-why-he-invaded-whats-next/

Eric Levitz, “Ukraine Is a War Without Endgame,” New York, March 11, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/03/ukraine-is-a-war-without-endgame.html

Ashley Parker et al., “‘No off-ramps’: U.S. and European officials don’t see a clear endgame in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/10/ukraine-end-game/

David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin

Reuters, “UN rights office says it has credible reports of Russian cluster bomb use in Ukraine,” March 11, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/un-rights-office-has-credible-reports-russian-cluster-bomb-use-ukraine-2022-03-11/

Brett Samuels, “Biden: Direct conflict between NATO and Russia would be ‘World War III,’” Hill, March 11, 2022, https://thehill.com/policy/international/597842-biden-direct-conflict-between-nato-and-russia-would-be-world-war-iii

David L. Stern et al., “Intelligence points to heightened risk of Russian chemical attack in Ukraine, officials say,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/11/intelligence-russian-chemical-attack/

Maureen Dowd, “Zelensky Answers Hamlet,” New York Times, March 12, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/12/opinion/zelensky-ukraine-russia-biden.html

Philip Gourevitch, “Is It Time to Call Putin’s War in Ukraine Genocide?” New Yorker, March 13, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/is-it-time-to-call-putins-war-in-ukraine-genocide

Luke Harding, Peter Beaumont, and Lorenzo Tondo, “Russia missile strike on Ukraine base close to Polish border kills 35, governor says,” Guardian, March 13, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/13/russia-widens-attacks-on-ukraine-with-missile-strike-on-base-close-to-polish-border

Jennifer Maloney, Emily Glazer, and Heather Haddon, “Russian Prosecutors Warn Western Companies of Arrests, Asset Seizures,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-prosecutors-warn-western-companies-of-arrests-asset-seizures-11647206193

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Trumpist Ukraine Blame Game,” New Yorker, March 13, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/21/the-trumpist-ukraine-blame-game

Richard Spencer, “Putin wipes out entire Ukrainian city of Volnovakha,” Times, March 13, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/putin-wipes-out-entire-ukrainian-city-of-volnovakha-b28k0lwh7

Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes, “Russia Asked China for Military and Economic Aid for Ukraine War, U.S. Officials Say,” New York Times, March 13, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/13/us/politics/russia-china-ukraine.html

Henry Zeffman, “Russia ‘using banned white phosphorus bombs’ in attack on Ukrainian city,” Times, March 13, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-using-banned-white-phosphorus-in-attack-on-ukrainian-city-nj3rq6mg6

Rodion Ebbighausen, “Why China thinks the West is to blame for Russia’s war in Ukraine,” Deutsche Welle, March 14, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/why-china-thinks-the-west-is-to-blame-for-russias-war-in-ukraine/a-61119517

Martin Farrer, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 20 of the Russian invasion,” Guardian, March 14, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/15/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-20-of-the-russian-invasion

John Ismay, “Russia Deploys a Mystery Munition in Ukraine,” New York Times, March 14, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/14/us/russia-ukraine-weapons-decoy.html

Robert Mendick, Nataliya Vasilyeva, and Nick Allen, “China ‘willing to supply Russia’ with weapons and military support,” Telegraph, March 14, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/14/china-willing-supply-russia-weapons-military-support/

Nomaan Merchant, “US View of Putin: Angry, Frustrated, Likely to Escalate War,” Military.com, March 14, 2022, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/03/14/us-view-of-putin-angry-frustrated-likely-escalate-war.html

Ashley Parker et al., “U.S. warns China not to assist Russia,” Washington Post, March 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/14/us-china-ukraine/

Yaroslav Trofimov and James Marson, “Russian Forces Kill Civilians, Loot for Supplies in Occupied Ukraine, Residents Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-kill-civilians-loot-for-supplies-in-occupied-ukraine-residents-say-11647267560

Jon Allsop, “The biases in coverage of the war in Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 15, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/media_bias_ukraine_war.php

Associated Press, “China Says it’s ‘Impartial’ on Ukraine, Denies Aiding Russia,” Military.com, March 15, 2022, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/03/15/china-says-its-impartial-ukraine-denies-aiding-russia.html

Isobel Koshiw, Jon Henley, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine will not join Nato, says Zelenskiy, as shelling of Kyiv continues,” Guardian, March 15, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/15/kyiv-facing-dangerous-moment-amid-signs-of-russias-tightening-grip

Poppie Platt et al., “Volodymyr Zelensky says talks with Russia were ‘pretty good’ as Ukraine pushes for ‘a fair peace,’” Telegraph, March 15, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/14/russia-ukraine-war-latest-news-putin-refugees-zelensky/

Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html

James Crisp, “Russia and Ukraine ‘draw up 15-point peace plan,’” Telegraph, March 16, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/16/ukraine-could-become-neutral-state-like-austria-moscow-kyiv/

Julia Ioffe, “Inside Biden’s Ukraine War Room,” Puck News, March 16, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-bidens-ukraine-war-room/

Molly Jong-Fast, “The Far Right Is Now Anti–anti-Putin,” Atlantic, March 16, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/62323220199fdd002140baa5/gop-tucker-carlson-putin-propaganda/

Rick Noack, “U.N. court orders Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, in a largely symbolic ruling,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/16/icj-ukraine-russia-genocide/

  1. [1]Lenny Bernstein and Joel Achenbach, “A covid surge in Western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/16/covid-ba2-omicron-surge/
  2. [2]Lenny Bernstein and Joel Achenbach, “A covid surge in Western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/16/covid-ba2-omicron-surge/
  3. [3]Molly Jong-Fast, “The Far Right Is Now Anti–anti-Putin,” Atlantic, March 16, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/62323220199fdd002140baa5/gop-tucker-carlson-putin-propaganda/
  4. [4]Roane Carey, “Don’t Be a Tankie: How the Left Should Respond to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine,” Intecept, March 1, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/03/01/ukraine-russia-leftists-tankie/

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