Why Omicron forces Americans to act immorally

Two weeks ago a friend called me to the doctor. He was single, in his thirties and generally healthy, but his dry cough was a mild congestion. After the self-administered Covid-19 test gave negative results, he suspected that he may have been infected.

He was about to fly west to the conference a few days later and was afraid of infecting other passengers. If it wants to be more accurate, I suggested a PCR test. When the lab results were positive, he spent the next five days alone at home (as directed by the CDC).

If you were in his place, you would also make reasonable efforts to avoid infecting others. This will not happen in the near future.

The Americans are playing it safe – for now

91% of Americans do not consider Covid-19 a “serious crisis.” Social exclusion has reached a low point as public health restrictions continue to ease.

However, there is another aspect of the pandemic that Americans are taking very seriously.

As a society, we still expect people who test positive for Covid-19 to stay home and reduce contact with others. As a result of these expectations, in 2022, 4 out of 10 workers (including 6 out of 10 low-income employees) will not be able to work. In general, the country №1. Omicron-related 1 concern is “spreading the virus to people at high risk of serious illness”.

Most Americans want to get rid of the pandemic, but those who are sick avoid activities that could lead to the spread of the virus.

Say what you want – group opinion, peer pressure or fear of violating cultural prohibitions – people don’t want to hurt others. This is true, according to opinion polls, regardless of party affiliation or vaccination status.

What is immoral today will be appropriate tomorrow

Don’t get used to these polite and socially conscious behaviors. All this will change in the near future. Let’s take a picture of tomorrow’s new normal scene:

  • A factory worker gave a positive assessment of Kovid-19 over the weekend and came to work on Monday without a mask and did not tell anyone about his infection.
  • Relaxing massages with facial Covid-19 symptoms, facials and group yoga classes, refuse to postpone the resort weekend.
  • The couple is planning a wedding in the 200-plus room because dozens of people could be infected and some of those guests could be elderly and immunocompromised people.

These seemingly inappropriate and immoral acts are now commonplace. This is not to say that people will suddenly become less compassionate. They simply become accustomed to new social traditions, driven by a unique viral strain and the inevitable evolution of American culture.

Severe course of a unique virus

To understand why people behave in ways that seem unacceptable today, you need to understand how the Omicron variant spreads compared to other viruses.

Scientists now know that Omicron (and its many decimal strains: BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4, BA.5, etc.) is the most contagious, most rapidly spreading respiratory virus in world history. The Mayo Clinic calls this Covid-19 variant “hyper-infectious”.

“A single action can result in six cases in four days, 36 cases in eight days and 216 cases in 12 days,” the statement said. Scientific American. As a result, researchers estimate that 100 million Americans will be infected with Omicron this year alone through new infections, reinfections, and immunization advances.

In addition to the high transmittance of omicron, the virus is also seasonal. If the flu comes every year in the winter and goes out in the spring, Americans will continue to experience high levels of Covid-19 infection throughout the year, at least in the near future.

Omicron is a unique virus with 60-plus mutations, extreme infectivity and lack of seasonality: one It infects not only our respiratory system but also our culture.

Over time, Omicron’s unique characteristics have prompted Americans to ignore and ignore the risk of infection. In the near future, they will make decisions and do the wrong thing at the moment.

Culture is coming in shock

Culture — embracing the common values, norms, and beliefs of a group of people — does not change because someone has to decide it. It develops as circumstances change.

The pandemic was, of course, a cultural change, and as the Covid-19 situation changed, so did our values, beliefs, and behavior.

If 100 million Americans (a third of the population) are infected with Omicron this year, then we can expect everyone to know someone with the disease. When dozens of our friends or colleagues say that they have them, we inevitably begin to see the contagion. According to statistics, since most Americans do not die from Omicron, people consider the infection relatively harmless and are willing to give up guard.

We see that more and more people are still working when they are infected. On trains and planes, we see people coughing and congested, who have never passed the Covid-19 test. Despite the dangers for the most vulnerable participants, we see large, closed celebrations taking place without any additional security measures.

As part of these changes, health workers have been urging caution for more than two years. But that will not change. Culture eats science for breakfast. Americans are more likely to follow the herd and ignore public safety warnings.

The process of change has begun

Cultural progress will take place in stages. First, a few people break the rules, and then others follow.

Remember my friend who passed two tests carefully. Next time, maybe he decides not to miss the conference. Perhaps when he returned home, he told his friends that he had been sick all the way. Maybe they said, “Do you think you had Covid?” He may answer: ‘What would that be? I was completely vaccinated and gained strength. ”

So he leaves. The next time someone in her social circle feels the weather, she doesn’t have to bother taking the first test.

This process of change has already begun. Take, for example, a White House dinner for reporters. Last year, the event was canceled. This year, guests had to show proof of vaccination or a negative test on the same day. However, this rule did not apply to hotel staff working at the event. Surprisingly, several high-level participants received Covid-19, but so far no one has been hospitalized. One year from now, if we assume that no major mutations will cause the virus to die, we can expect all restrictions to be lifted.

Culture determines how people behave. It affects their thoughts and actions. It changes their values ​​and beliefs. Omicron’s unique characteristics cause people to ignore the damage it causes. They do not act maliciously. They simply do not notice the consequences of their actions. This is how culture works.

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