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FairfaxOpinionEditorial: On COVID, common sense still in far too short supply

Editorial: On COVID, common sense still in far too short supply

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The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, a trade group, recently put out a plea to the public in the Old Dominion, asking them to remain calm and take a measured approach to the omicron variant of COVID that has been wending its way in an annoying but in most cases not life-altering fashion, through the American population.

Too many people, it seems, have been rushing to emergency rooms unnecessarily, which threatened to overrun capacity of a stretched health-care system.

We are sympathetic to the request, but it seems to be swimming upstream against human nature to, on the one hand, ramp up the hysteria and then, on the other, ask people not to be hysterical.

For nearly two years, the public has been subjected, by its leaders and the media, to a COVID-response sledgehammer when something more surgical would have sufficed.


Officials in love with their own voices and with the power they have wheedled from the public have kept the fearmongering going far too long. People are tired, people are cranky, half the country already has tuned out and the other half (a decidedly higher percentage in the local area, it seems) continue to breathlessly prostrate itself on the altar of public-health pronouncements, however self-contradictory those pronouncements may be.

With better messaging from the White House on down, omicron could have been seen as the way out of the pandemic. Instead, the flames of hysteria were fanned again. Perfectly healthy people found themselves standing in line, Soviet-style, in bad weather for hours for tests others surely needed more than they did, all because someone in a position of authority said they should. Others rushed to emergency rooms for the sniffles, clogging up the system.

It also goes to show that, despite the belief we’ve advanced, human nature today is about on par with human nature during the Salem Witch Trials days.

People who are whipped into a frenzy resort to behavior that, to future generations, is considered surreal in its lack of common sense and proportionality to the threat at hand.

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