Letter: Omicron is a reason for cautious optimism


I read with some interest your In Our Opinion column in the Dec. 4th edition (“It’s a bad time to become lax with masks”). I’m astonished at this: “… and the emergence of a newer and badder variant, Omicron.” “Badder”? Really?

No professional journalist should use a word like “badder”. “Worse” would (no pun intended) be better here. “More severe” might be more appropriate – it it were known to be true.

But more importantly, “badder” appears to be unnecessary fear-mongering. It’s not clear that Omicron is more severe than its predecessors. Indeed, according to Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the chair of the South African Medical Association (in which country the alarm was first raised about this variant), symptoms are “extremely mild.”

The infirmation can be read at www.cnbc.com/2021/11/29/omicron-covid-variant-symptoms-heres-what-we-know-so-far.html.

If Omicron is more contagious than its predecessors, it may displace Delta and the preceding variants; if it is also milder, the health outcomes from catching COVID should improve. This is good news, bringing us closer to the end of the need for masking, and to the end of the emergency. A little cautious optimism seems warranted, and would be a welcome change.

Allen McPheeters

Oak Harbor

Editor’s note: A simple Google search shows that tens of thousands of professional journalists have used the term “badder.” Like in the editorial, it’s commonly used as a slangy variant of “bigger and badder,” one of the most common idioms of the English language. FOX News and Donald Trump have also used the term.