In the Dr. Seus story from the 1950s, a mean bitter creature with a heart “two sizes too small” tries to make everyone unhappy and cancel Christmas by stealing all the gifts and decorations from the homes of the nearby town of Whoville on Christmas Eve. Doesn’t this sound a little bit like the “Omicron Grinch” and Christmas 2021?
The Grinch awakes the following morning to the sounds of joyous singing from the town below. Miraculously the Grinch realizes Christmas is more than gifts and presents.
Perhaps that is the lesson we are to learn as well. For the second year in a row, as it appears that COVID-19 and the Omicron strain has become the Grinch that wants to steal Christmas.
Last year, there was no vaccine for COVID, and we were all living in fear. Christmas and holiday season festivities were diminished to small gatherings. Lockdowns and isolation were the order of the day. Since then, we have fortunately seen the onset of vaccines. Over 11 million in the province of Ontario have had 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.
But now, the government is scrambling to find solutions as Omicron is about to go on a rampage. Omicron is seen as a quadruple threat. It is highly mutated from other variants such as Delta. These mutations make it more capable of infecting those already vaccinated. Omicron is reproducing four times faster than Delta, soon it will take over as the most dominant strain of the virus. The multiplication rate is staggering, UK infection rates are doubling in less than two days.
In Canada, around 80 percent of the population is considered fully vaccinated. But just under 3,400,000 have had booster shots.
Pfizer said last week that preliminary research suggests that a booster shot of their vaccine provides more protection against Omicron than the initial two doses.
So, the rush is on in Canada to get the booster into as many arms as possible. But booster shots alone won’t stop Omicron. Wise choices have to be made. Mask wearing, washing hands, social distancing, staying out of crowded venues. These are all part of a diet we know but are tired of. Can we do it again? Apparently, we must if we are to overcome Omicron, the highly mutated next wave of COVID-19.
In the Dr. Seus story, a reformed Grinch returns all of the presents and food and is allowed to partake in Christmas. Omicron, however, has no human values, no soul. It certainly is not mean or bitter like the Grinch.
Scientific American wrote of viruses in 2008. “Regardless of whether or not we consider viruses to be alive, it is time to acknowledge and study them in their natural context—within the web of life.” Meaning viruses have become part of human evolution.
The Grinch that is Omicron. We are entering our second COVID-19 influenced holiday season. Perhaps like the Grinch, Omicron is teaching us that at this special time we should embrace the simple pleasure of life. The joys and happiness of friends and family.
Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!