A new COVID-19 variant, reported from sub-Saharan Africa on Wednesday, has caused many developed countries to halt travel from that region without delay. All except America, which, thanks to Anthony Fauci, dithered and ultimately put into place a tepid plan to go into effect on Monday.
As if viruses don’t spread and kill on holiday weekends.
As soon as news of the possibly super-contagious variant dubbed omicron was announced on Thursday, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Australia cut off visitors from the affected African countries.
So did France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and other European Union members. European Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant explained that “we need to act very fast” and take all precautions “to prevent the virus from entering Europe.”
But White House medical czar Fauci said on Friday that travel bans “were something to think about … but you want to make sure there’s a basis for doing that.” He’s more concerned with mollifying the World Health Organization, which opposes travel bans, than keeping Americans safe. This is the same WHO that covered up China’s efforts to hide the contagiousness of COVID-19, then sponsored a phony investigation of the virus’ origins and insisted the Wuhan lab was a “very unlikely” source.
Allowing travel from southern Africa to continue, even for three days, has put the United States at needless risk.
U.S. regulations require all airline travelers to present proof of vaccination — but read the fine print. The regulations exempt travelers from countries where vaccination rates are very low. That’s crazy. Just 6% of Africa’s population is vaccinated.
To quantify the danger Fauci created by delaying the travel ban, consider two flights that landed Friday in Amsterdam from Johannesburg and Cape Town, with 600 passengers in all. On arrival, 10% of those passengers tested positive for COVID-19 and were subjected to tests for omicron. Thirteen, it turns out, carried the variant.
It’s plausible that 10% of passengers arriving in the United States from South Africa over the weekend carried the virus as well, including some with omicron. Thank you, Dr. Fauci.
Little is known about the variant except that it has some 30 mutations that could make it more dangerous than previous versions of the virus. It has already eclipsed the delta variant in parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg.
Two cases of omicron have been detected in the United Kingdom, both recent travelers to South Africa, and one case has been detected in Italy, a traveler from Mozambique. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report no cases yet in America. An effective travel ban is important to delay and reduce the risk here.
South Africa’s response to the travel bans has been inexcusable, too. The country’s health minister, Joe Phaahla, called travel restrictions a “knee-jerk reaction,” a “witch hunt,” and “punishment.” The truth is, South Africa and neighboring countries should be volunteering to prevent their citizens from traveling to other countries and spreading the omicron variant while so little is known about its dangers.
One thing scientists have learned battling COVID-19 during the past two years is that lockdowns don’t work but travel restrictions if put into place swiftly, do.
An August 2020 study in the Journal of Travel Medicine found that by rapidly cutting off travel with China on Feb. 1, 2020, Australia averted a much larger epidemic. Another study in BMC Infectious Diseases this year showed that travel restrictions, together with other measures, helped Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea avert COVID carnage.
You wouldn’t know that listening to Fauci. He slammed former President Donald Trump’s travel ban against China before it went into effect, parroting WHO’s advice. Last week, he once again put globalist concerns ahead of what’s safest for Americans.
To defend against omicron and future variants, the United States needs to improve its capacity to spot and track them with genomic sequencing, the technique used in Africa last week. America ranks 28th in the world in its tracking ability. Thank Fauci for that, too.
It will take time to determine how dangerous the new omicron variant is, but the proof is already in on Fauci. He’s got to go.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey.
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But come on in over the border!!
I am so tired of hearing about the covid virus. It’s here and it’s here to stay. We have to learn to live with it. All viruses will mutate. They don’t want to kill their host. Most people who died, died of other issues they just happened to have the virus too. My mother-in-law died this past April. She was 90, had diabetes that she didn’t not take very good care of, a heart valve that didn’t work, and then had a stroke. So, after hospitalization and rehab at a nursing home she gets pneumonia. When they called us to let us know that she was headed to the hospital cause her lab values were not good. They told us she also had covid now. So, a week later she dies. Please tell me what killed her. The fact that she was 90 or diabetes, or the stroke, or pneumonia or covid. Well, the death certificate only stated respiratory issues 2ndary to covid. Hum makes me wonder why. Do the hospitals, nursing homes, doctors get paid 100% if it’s a covid thing? I think from covid we have cured other things that people die from.
People die of many things, the flu, the common cold, old age, falling down the stairs and many other ways, but not anymore, it’s all covid Let people get back to living. Living healthy, taking care of yourself and having a healthy immune system is still a person’s best bet. Let the vaccine be there for those who need and want it, and let’s get back to living.
Now this new variant, there will always be another variant. Stop all these bans and mandates and let people make their own decisions.
There is one way to make covid go away. Stop testing everyone for it.
Do you think that stopping testing will keep people out of the hospital ? That’s kind of bassackwards isn’t it ?
We have already seen that travel bans don’t work. Why would this time be any different ?
In any case Betsy, many people don’t believe that covid is a problem which has allowed the virus to continue to mutate. When you have a solution to that, please let us know.