It’s Now Obvious That Omicron Was Another Variant of Fearmongering

March 7, 2022 Updated: March 8, 2022

Commentary

Omicron has proven to be another variant … of fearmongering.

Omicron was first identified in South Africa on Nov. 24, 2021, by Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private physician and chairwoman of the South African Medical Association. Dr. Coetzee told the BBC that while more time was needed to know how serious the virus might be for vulnerable people, the patients she had examined showed “extremely mild symptoms” only. She said most complained of fatigue and body aches; none had required hospital admittance. South Africa’s hospitals were not overrun with Omicron patients, in a country where three quarters of the people are not double-jabbed.

South Africa was not the only jurisdiction where Omicron’s symptoms proved to be extremely mild. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam stated in mid-December that all of the Omicron cases were either mild or asymptomatic, and by early January she admitted that “severe illness” was not spiking in proportion to the Omicron case count.

In spite of Omicron’s mildness, and in spite of Canada’s 87 percent vaccination rate (with an ostensibly “effective” COVID shot), Prime Minister Trudeau called for Canadians to “hunker down” for a “difficult winter” amid the expected surge in cases and deaths from Omicron. He called the spike in infections “scary,” and went on to make it mandatory for 100 percent of truckers (working in one of the most solitary occupations) to get the COVID shots. With this terrifying new threat running rampant, just before the holiday season Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos issued stern warnings to avoid travel.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared on Dec. 10, 2021, that “we’ve never faced an enemy like Omicron”—even though on that date, Canada-wide Omicron cases were still only 87 in number, and nobody had died of it or with it. Mr. Ford limited indoor private gatherings to just 10 people.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault went even further, declaring a state of emergency and re-imposing the strict 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew. Vaccine-free Quebecers were banned from shopping at big-box retail stores, and Premier Legault announced plans to introduce a special new tax on those who had not taken the COVID shots. Catholic bishops cancelled Christmas church services. While Quebec officials claimed the decision to reinstate the curfew in December was based on evidence gathered by various organizations, including Quebec’s public health institute, that institute said it didn’t provide any documents justifying the need for a curfew.

Predictably, many legacy media also promoted the fear of Omicron. One such news report on Dec. 10, 2021, announced that “Covid’s worst is coming,” parroting the World Health Organization warning that Omicron posed a “very high” global risk.

We should all be relieved of course, that the Omicron variant has not lived up to the overheated predictions that accompanied its arrival in Canada in November of 2021. This gap between fearmongering and reality was consistent with the gargantuan gap between the initial March 2020 predictions about COVID being as bad as the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the reality that has ensued in the past two years. COVID’s impact on the world population’s life expectancy has been a tiny fraction of the impact of the Spanish Flu, which killed tens of millions of younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

With Omicron, politicians once again promoted the worst of any COVID-related development and rushed to impose further restrictions on business and society. Canadians whose jobs, travel plans, charter rights, and indeed their whole lives were impacted by government action may reasonably ask: Were the various government responses proportionate to what was known of the Omicron threat?

The message of fear proclaimed by government officials and the media was far overblown in light of the actual evidence concerning this “variant of concern.” Harsher lockdowns and mandates were imposed throughout Canada without justification, and charter-protected rights and freedoms were further infringed with no demonstrable evidence. Indeed, Dr. Coetzee felt strongly that people outside South Africa were over-reacting.

Regarding Omicron, South Africa got over it, most American states were indifferent, and Canada chose to lock down. Whatever the inconveniences imposed on Canadians by capricious and arbitrary government action, was there any advantage to this Canadian approach?

Canada’s response to Omicron, including Ottawa’s insistence that all truckers get the COVID shot and the continuing unscientific discrimination that prevents the vaccine-free from flying on airplanes, show that our governments are informed by some “science” which does not exist outside of Canada.

How many more times must Canadians be expected to credit their elected officials with wisdom and goodwill in the face of blatant fearmongering? The past three months have been much ado about not so much. Public health has been politicized for ends that have nothing much to do with public health, and Canadians are paying a high price for it.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Carpay
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca).