Omicron is everywhere, and people are tired. Nearly two years into this pandemic, the seemingly more transmissible and milder coronavirus variant is tempting some to throw in the towel on avoiding infection.
Should you just accept that you're going to get sick this winter? No, my colleague Sarah Zhang argues. Though you will probably get COVID eventually, there are a few practical reasons to delay an infection--and potentially passing it on to others--as long as possible.
1. You can help reduce the burden on hospitals.
As my colleague Ed Yong has reported, health-care workers are already burning out and quitting in droves. This latest surge could break our hospital systems. And broken hospitals affect not just COVID patients, but anyone seeking care.
2. Better treatments to help the most vulnerable are on the way.
"Pfizer's very effective pill has just been authorized by the FDA, but supplies are short," Sarah reports. "Only one monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab, currently works against Omicron, and supplies are also short." The longer you're able to stave off infection, the more time the system has to make these treatments available.
3. Getting it now doesn't guarantee that you won't get it again.
It's not as simple as "getting it over with." "No combinations of vaccines or viruses can confer invulnerability to future tussles with SARS-CoV-2," Katherine J. Wu explains. "Whether acquired from an injection or an infection, immunity will always work in degrees, not absolutes."
The news in three sentences:
(2) The World Health Organization said more than half of Europe could be infected with Omicron in the next two months.
(3) In 2021, ocean temperatures reached their hottest in recorded history, new climate data reveal.
Today's Atlantic-approved activity:
Change your vantage point: See 21 striking photos of Earth, as viewed from the International Space Station.
A break from the news:
As you contemplate those New Year's resolutions, remember: You can't just decide to be a different person.
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