2023 COVID Variants to Complicate Pandemic Response

Chart shows the uptick from Christmas related to COVID reported cases. Note, many jurisdictions including the USA and Canada no longer have widespread testing or reporting. This is a phenomenon to get the public to accept the ongoing harm. It also make sit hard for the general public to get a sense of the real-time COVID-19 danger in a particular area without good data. Wastewater testing data is one tool but it is merely one.

Currently, an expanding population in most countries that fall into the “done with COVID-19” segment. Part of this is attributed to cumulative exhaustion. We all would prefer to move on with our lives despite the relative risk. However, there exists a denial where the notion of “risk” is down-played by the “COVID is just the flu” crowd. This position has been completely debunked yet the rumors/idea persists largely due to ineffective public health messaging. Politicians have a short-term outlook on their own careers, and even more left-leaning science-based political parties are doing away with COVID-19 messaging including public mask wearing.

So where does this take us?

The long-term damages of COVID-19 are still unknown, most notably in the area of long-COVID-19 effects. COVID remains a mass disabling event and one that has no cure. Mass disabling means upwards of 20% of those infected with COVID will develop some long-term health problem. Some of these health issues are irreversible. The proliferation of COVID-19 also means the incorrect view of catching COVID-19 in fact develops “natural immunity” is in fact the opposite. Every time COVID-19 is contracted, the hosts immune system weakens. This makes catching COVID-19 or even other diseases, much higher. Which is why you see the resurgence of so many virus long dormant or thought defeated. The anti-vaxx crowd has contributed significantly. However, vaccine up-take for doses beyond the base series (2-3 doses) is stalled. Despite bi-valent vaccines readily available, for some reason the general population has been slow to accept it. Chalk it up to once again those public health measures/messages–or lack thereof.

The Spring/Summer brings forth another COVID-19 variation in the XBB.1.5 Omicron off-shoot. Without public health measures including the adoption of widespread mask wearing in public spaces including schools (which are proven to be a primary transmission location), new variants will emerge, stronger than the ones they replace, and notably will only extend the length of the global pandemic. This will lead to further unnecessary deaths, lower life expectancy as those who survive infections have weakened immune systems, and a rapid expansion of the disabled population putting even more strain on the health care system over the long-term.

Solutions remain better public health measures, mask wearing, vaccine uptick (think of it as a yearly series similar to the flu shot that is now necessary), and the health messaging to match.