The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Calling My Shot on Letting Omicron Rip

In a few years, we’re going to read a lot of op-eds and articles about how it was a mistake and “no one could have known.”

Like with the Iraq War, the housing bubble, Afghanistan, climate change, and everything else of importance, there are always people who got it right, and those people are generally the people who got other things right that those in the bubble don’t.

When you’re in the bubble, which includes the media, the most important thing is to not leave the pack. If you get something wrong, but almost everyone inside is wrong, you’re good. If you get it right, against the pack, your career can end and if it doesn’t it will be set back. (This is what happened to most public figures who warned about Iraq.)

Omicron is going to produce a huge wave of disabling, and a slew of downstream deaths. Children will get chronic damage from it which will last for years and, in some cases, for their entire lives. So will adults.

In Ontario, where I live, the government has decided to reopen schools this coming Monday, and said that it won’t tell parents about any Covid cases until 30 percent of students and teachers are out with Covid. (As most Covid cases are asymptomatic, this could mean as much as a 75 percent prevalence rate.) Wouldn’t want parents to protect their children from risks.

I’m really tempted to call this genocide. It’s certainly mass murder and mass-disabling. A lot of parents are complicit. Ontario originally closed schools, and I’d lay long odds that a blizzard of calls is part of why they’re reopening, also calls from business-owners and executives. School is mostly daycare, and if you don’t do a real shutdown with support, people need their daycare. (Though as a 70s kid, I’ll say that children can care for themselves during the day better than you think, younger than you think. Any reasonable ten year old, and many eight year olds.)

Anyway, we’re in the stupid season, just like before and during the first few months of Iraq, when fools opine about how it’s going great, kids will be fine, etc. As usual, we’ll have to wait for the damage to be done for the fools and psychopaths to admit that maybe some of them were wrong, but jeez, it was in good faith, and no one could have known, and since we were all wrong there shouldn’t be any consequences.

For the rest of my life, I will support bringing back the death penalty for any politicians and bureaucrats who supported sending children back to school during the Omicron surge. Hang them from the neck, every one — and throw in the business-people who forced workers with Covid to come in to work as well.

Meanwhile, New York has decided not to prosecute ex-Governor Cuomo for deliberately sending Covid-infected people to old-folks homes, thus killing huge numbers of old people, and then lying about them.

In this type of situation, you don’t take chances. You don’t expose the entire population including children to the new strain, waving your hands about how “mild” it is.

But this is barely “taking a chance,” this is odds-on a catastrophe unfolding as we watch, and those who do it either know it or should know it.



Mass Democratic Legitimacy Loss from Mass Disabling


Open Thread


  1. NR

    Ian, what do you think can be done when 30% or more of the population thinks that COVID is a hoax, as exemplified by a commenter in the last post you made?

  2. Ian Welsh

    It’s not an independent variable. This bullshit could be put a stop to very quickly by live cams of people suffering and dying from Covid, similar to the public messages we used to do for car driving and smoking.

    There are people who would sign a waiver allowing it.

    Do it with some kids, too.

    Rip the guts out of the denialists, leaving a few mocked assholes who everyone knows are delusional psychopaths.

    Dying of Covid is UGLY.

  3. NR

    Ian, I think you drastically underestimate the power of propaganda and the strength of the bubble these people live in. Those videos would be immediately dismissed by the vast majority of these people as fake, and the right-wing social media influencers who program them would just claim it’s “even more evidence” that the virus is a hoax and not dangerous at all.

    For fuck’s sake, even people who themselves are dying of COVID sometimes say it’s a hoax. There are many, many examples of this out there, this is just one:

    The course of action you describe wouldn’t even make a dent in the denial of reality these people practice.

  4. Astrid

    In any population, there will be people who can’t be reached. If sufficiently threatening to the rest of the population, they will be locked up and kept out of civil society.

    But there are plenty more who might be reachable with free and comfortable N95 masks, automatic and generous sick leave and bonus payments for vaccination, and the option to return their kids to remote schooling.

    To fixate on the deplorables when there’s been no actual effort to reach them and incentivize better behavior is typical of BlueAnon.

  5. Ted

    Thanks for being one of the few people with the appropriate level of anger and disgust

  6. someofparts

    Well, I have two responses to this post. First, I agree about kids being able to care for themselves at younger ages than people these days suppose. When I was a sprout, me and my siblings were on our own during the weekdays in the summer, when school was out of session and both parents were working. We were expected to clean the house in the mornings and after that we were free to spend the afternoons as we pleased. We made our own breakfast and lunch. Mom would call from the office to check on us and laugh about some of the things we chose to eat, like banana pudding for breakfast. Most afternoons I walked a couple of miles to the swimming pool and then a couple of miles back home afterward.

    As to keeping children out of school, I just want to share this heartfelt post from Freddie deBoer. This country is full of children who live in shelters. Plenty of others live in very dysfunctional families. Even among children who have homes and functional families, many simply do not have computers at home, even now. Go to the public library branch in a poor neighborhood and you will find children lined up to use the computers. Children who can stay home should be allowed to do so. For those who do not have that option, arrangements must be made to make sure they are fed and schooled somehow.

  7. anon

    Thank you for stating what very few people will. I hate every leader who refuses to shut down in-person learning until Spring if not the rest of the school year. I agree that we’re going to see the affects of Covid for the rest of our lives. Long Covid is not a joke. People’s lives (or the number of years for having a good quality of life) will be greatly shortened.

    China made the choice to hurt their economy short term. The West has chosen long term suffering and consequences. We will ultimately pay a greater price with our health and will spend more money in the long run to take care of multiple generations crippled by Covid.

  8. Willy

    I can now imagine angsty-angry picket signs in front of insurance companies who’ve dropped their unvaccinated customers. For business reasons of course. And I guess I can see conservative faith-based insurance companies created to fill that need although I’m not sure how that’ll work. Freedumb is still a mysterious thing for me.

    So much anti-vax angst is coming from the conservative faith-based community and their tireless freedumb warriors. In the states, many of them even turned on their very own anointed demagogue after he recommended the vaccines which he proclaimed to have created, with God’s help I presume.

    Again, more mysteriousness. Which takes me to deprogramming. I don’t think anybody from the “demonically possessed socialist enemy side” can do it very successfully. We might be needing card carrying Christians wearing liberty and capitalism and AmericaFirst! merit badges for that job.

  9. different clue

    I will claim ( with no way to prove it of course) that I told some of the analog meatspace people with whom I share my analog meatspace life that . . . ” Covid will become the “Lyme Disease” of viruses.”

    The MSM pack are very carefully led along in their Covid denialism by agents of the Upper Class whose names I cannot know but whose existence is made plain by their gravitational effect upon the various MSM persons and organs.

    The Global Overclass agenda has been and remains to kill 7 billion or so people over the next century just slowly and seemingly randomly and seemingly unrelatedly enough to where the targetted majority populations never catch on. S F author William Gibson called it the Jackpot in one of his stories. I have seen it called ” Jackpot Design Engineering” over at Naked Capitalism.

    The deliberate plan to spread covid as far and wide as possible has become obvious enough that some people are beginning to see the deliberate purposive nature of it.
    What if 300 million Americans suddenly experience a shared “Pearl Harbor Moment” of realization that this is a ruling class plan to kill most of us?

    Or as commenter ” GM” over at Naked Capitalism put it . . . . (paraphrasing . . . ) “If enough people decide that this is indeed deliberate, would they be able to mount the sort of Bolshevik Revolution needed to physically exterminate the social class of people which has engineered this epidemic and which drives it forward on purpose in order to kill most of us?”

    This comment by GM was hoisted to the status of “Guest Post” very recently on Naked Capitalism and may easily be found until the Establishment shuts down sites like Naked Capitalism and Ian Welsh on the road to kill switching the entire internet once and for all.

  10. NR

    free and comfortable N95 masks

    These people won’t wear them, because they think COVID is “just a case of the sniffles” (as one of our commenters put it).

    automatic and generous sick leave and bonus payments for vaccination

    These people won’t get vaccinated, because they think COVID is a hoax and their right-wing social media influencers told them vaccines are (insert conspiracy theory of the day here).

    and the option to return their kids to remote schooling

    These people hate remote learning too, and swarm school board meetings over things like mask mandates.

    To fixate on the deplorables when there’s been no actual effort to reach them and incentivize better behavior is typical of BlueAnon.

    To pretend these people are reachable is… certainly something. They are not reachable. They are stupid and ignorant and they live in a cesspool of propaganda and they are happy there. Their denial of reality has killed untold numbers of people and they don’t care. To pretend that all we need is a few free masks and a little money for vaccine incentives and these people will come around is just willful blindness.

  11. Astrid

    Matt Taibbi said it far better than I ever could.

  12. Ian Welsh

    Since I was never a “vaccine only” person I feel no need to defend “vaccine only” policies. Vacccines are, however, very useful and I would have made them mandatory unless a medical exception was given.

    For those who want non-mRNA variants, I would have licensed Sputnik V, which was excellent, since I am not a Russophobe.

  13. Chipper

    As someone who was left on my own during the day starting at age eight, I am sad to report that these days that could get you a visit from Child Protective Services. I think it’s even illegal in some if not all states (no idea about other countries … I’ be curious if anyone knows). I read a story a few years ago about a single mother who left her 12-year-old in a park during the day (because she worked and had no day care) and was arrested. Even if you want to be a free range parent, society won’t let you.

  14. BlizzardOfOzzz

    @different clue,

    The Global Overclass agenda has been and remains to kill 7 billion or so people over the next century just slowly and seemingly randomly and seemingly unrelatedly enough to where the targetted majority populations never catch on.

    Honestly quite amazing and darkly funny that you and I both believe this, and only disagree on the means they are using. You think it’s (natural and/or man-made) viruses, I think it’s the fake-vaccines. There’s no reason it can’t be both, I suppose …

  15. Ché Pasa


    That’s right. For some reason, the millions of dead, the drastically shortened lifespans for ordinary people, and the persistence of Covid damage for at least a generation simply isn’t registering.

    “Vaccine only” — if you want it — was promoted by the Trump regime, but it has never been the policy of public health authorities. Yet it’s a persistent false narrative. I guess it’s a necessary talking point for contrarians.

    You may have heard that military medical personnel are on the way to New Mexico to help out with the sharp increase in Covid hospitalizations. So it looks like our bubble of relative safety has popped.

    For a few days, more of the locals stopped wearing masks — percentage of folks I saw wearing masks dropped to about 10% on Monday. Today, though, it was closer to 60%. N95s and the like are in short supply around here. But there are surgical masks if not in abundance at least available.

    As far as I can tell, the Biden regime has totally capitulated. On pretty much everything.

    What did we do to deserve this?

  16. Lex

    When communicating about environmental hazards, emergencies and similar there will be 10-20% who believe you implicitly and 10-20% that won’t believe you no matter what. You have to gather the middle 60-80 quickly. But you also have to act in ways that build trust.

    How come the richest nations in the world haven’t figured out how to broadcast school lessons? How come they haven’t upgraded school ventilation? How come they haven’t hired more teachers to make smaller class sizes in well ventilated spaces? How come we don’t have a suite of tools to address this? In early 2020 it was understandable but not now.

  17. bruce wilder

    A shipping clerk where I work expressed her astonishment at the official advice now given on isolation and quarantine: in particular, leaving isolation after only 5 days WITHOUT a negative test. I was beginning to wonder if it was just me questioning whether any aspect of policy made sense. It was reassuring to me in a way that she “got it”.

  18. VietnamVet

    The US Supreme Court ruling against corporate vaccine mandate but allowing the mandate for healthcare workers in institutions that receive federal money lays out quite clearly that this is a political/economic system that is run by and for corporations. Period. I don’t believe that the Jackpot is planned. Instead, since the Soviet Union fell, and the New Deal was terminated by the neoliberal counter-revolt; the West is being run to assure that there is a profit this quarter and that stockholder value increases plus keeping zombie big business operating. There is absolutely no long-term planning or governing for the common good. On top of this, those who run the West today are global insiders, aristocrat-caste-cult members, who don’t give a hoot about the underclasses or workers.

    The life expectancy of Americans since 2014 has been in decline. An Indiana insurer reports a 40% increase in excess deaths of middle-aged American workers in 2021 not directly caused by COVID. And, also, yes, the Epoch Times reports a nationwide surge in deaths among people aged 18-49. The highest state, Nevada, sees a 65 percent increase in prime-age mortality, only 36 percent attributed to COVID.

    If history rhymes, either the Western Empire tumbles into a new Dark Age, or the people revolt like 1917 which is likely apocalyptic if one occurs in nuclear armed USA, UK, or France who all have had revolutions before.

  19. BobbyK

    I wrote a comment in a diary at the orange satan web site – dailykos – stating it was a good thing any right wing radio host that got COVID died. I got put in “timeout” until I checked their stupid pop up stating I violated their standards.


  20. bruce wilder

    “Vaccine only” — if you want it — was promoted by the Trump regime, but it has never been the policy of public health authorities. Yet it’s a persistent false narrative. I guess it’s a necessary talking point for contrarians.

    I see “vaccine only” as a bumper sticker, not a narrative, a label given a policy tendency clearly evident since the Biden Administration took over, to emphasize universal vaccination as the primary means and goal of COVID policy, while neglecting other approaches and means. Narrative gambits like “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and “horse paste” were part of this. Biden’s mandating vaccines, and misinforming to the effect that the vaccinated could not contract or spread the virus, giving permission to the vaccinated to relax masking, the encouragement given for vaccine passporting, shaming the unvaccinated, while failing to make provision for adequate and convenient testing, better masks, ventilation guidance, timely travel restrictions and quarantines. I think treatment research and guidance has been neglected from the beginning by public health authorities, and the guidance on preventing transmission to vulnerable populations (e.g. nursing homes) was an abject failure. The recent Biden Administration guidance on isolation and quarantining, sending people back into the workforce without testing, if vaccinated, seems extremely misguided — “vaccine-only” doesn’t cover it.

    I cannot separate the failures of political operatives to comprehend and respect the public health experts from the failures of those experts in the case of policies adopted by political authority. But it is clear that public health establishment in the U.S. is morally and scientifically incompetent. The particular failure to track “breakthru” infections was a glaring failure following the early testing missteps that prevented track-and-trace methods from being used effectively to contain spread. The failure to track-and-trace and the failure to track breakthru cases and the failure to organize genetic monitoring of variants at scale and the failure to grok aerosols — all of these failures of public health authorities and expertise contributed to leaving the U.S. with nothing to rely on but vaccination.

    “vaccine-only” as a label for precluding alternatives by a mix of narrative policymaking by wishful thinking and technical failures to prepare or organize effective measures in other dimensions is not “false” when understood as a condensed accusation of incompetence.

    I cannot

  21. Trinity

    History does indeed rhyme (is cyclical) but they are doing their damndest to cut out all avenues of escape from their insanity. I would only add the short-term thinking leads to record quarterly profits and shareholder service which in turn drives CEO annual bonuses, and our immiseration. Products continue to be noticeably ever lower quality, in a stair step downward kind of way.

    There was talk (in places like West Virginia which probably has the lowest per capita high speed internet capabilities in North America) of satellite internet being brought to all those mountaineers. Talk, but I have never seen a single article written about this. Maybe I missed it, maybe it isn’t going to happen, but given the billions upon billions these asswipes have, there’s no reason they couldn’t provide quality internet to every household. This is one of those “unexplainables” I ponder regularly, given how easily they can divert money to themselves within all banking transactions.

    Really good article, Ian, and I second Ted’s post: “Thanks for being one of the few people with the appropriate level of anger and disgust”.

  22. SteveInNC

    I saw an article this morning suggesting that the 1890’s “Russian Flu” was actually a coronavirus. The case is convincing. It took at least 10 years for it to mutate into something tolerable. Not looking forward to a decade of this.

  23. different clue


    You ask . . . ” How come the richest nations in the world haven’t figured out how to broadcast school lessons? How come they haven’t upgraded school ventilation? How come they haven’t hired more teachers to make smaller class sizes in well ventilated spaces? How come we don’t have a suite of tools to address this? In early 2020 it was understandable but not now.”

    The answer is obvious, even though it is still too painful for some to face. And the answer to your question is this: the Corporate Fascist Pig western governments planned and keep planning to spread this virus to everyone within their reach, deliberately and on purpose. Why? Jackpot Design Engineering.

    The Jackpot Design Engineer elites will hate China more and more as long as China refuses to adopt the Jackpot Design Engineering program. If the ChinaGov can successfully keep the virus beaten down and contained at a near zero level, China may eventually be back at a level of Survival Autarky If Necessary to where the ChinaGov can make Zero Covid status a condition for any country that wants any sort of economic interaction with China. If the ChinaGov decides to adopt that policy, in order to stop Outside Barbarian Covid from constantly leaking back into China, China will impose that condition most rigorously on countries sharing a border with China, and will offer those countries help on becoming Zero Covid Zones. If it works, they can keep extending it till the entire Shanghai Cooperation Council Area is a No Covid Zone.

    In such a future, if Western Australia has still kept the NotWestern Australian covid zombies and their covid out of Western Australia, then Western Australia will be permitted to interact with the SCO NCZ ( Shanghai Cooperation Organization No Covid Zone).

  24. Willy

    Generally speaking, incompetent people don’t get vaccinated as a matter of principle because incompetent people cannot calculate odds, let alone discern odds. Incompetent people cannot observe statistical analysis done independently and worldwide by experts. Incompetent people cannot learn from the mistakes of others. Incompetent people deny, rationalize and project or whatever it takes to confirm their own cognitive biases for their own personal emotional sense of cognitive closure. Incompetent people are thus easily confused by FUD. And most of all, incompetent people cannot form their own independent and reliably scientific analysis organizations or structures to discern other means of increasing their own odds against covid besides their hated big-pharma freedom-robbing demonically-possessed “vaccinations”, to be taken seriously by anyone who is actually competent.

    And this comes from a big fan of finding effective folk remedies. And maybe diet, exercise and lifestyle… for the purposes of self-reliance and circumventing the big pharma-government-medical complex. Maybe if I had the time, I’d concoct an elixir which anybody could make from honey, green tea, zinc, and horse paste and send my 1000 volunteers out into the world unmasked and await the results. And if the results were inferior to vaccinations, maybe try again with another elixir.

    Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time. So I just got jabbed twice.

  25. Trinity

    If no one else has posted this:

    “At least 18 states have less than 15 percent capacity remaining in their ICU facilities as the United States grapples with surging COVID-19 cases, according to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data.

    The states include Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, and New Hampshire. ”

    A paraphrase from an NBA sports team currently with five players out due to covid: “no one knows even how they got it.” So assuming they followed team and stringent NBA covid avoidance protocols, they still got it, and for some it’s the second time or more. And they have no idea how they got it.

  26. different clue


    Don’t let anyone tell you I don’t have a sense of humor.

    At my age and weight and co-morbidities, I decided my likely survival risk from likely covid outweighed my less-likely survival risk from the mRNA para-vaccinoid. So I got Moderna X 2.

    Now my hospital workplace is mandating Booster of whatever flavor we like as a condition of remaining employed. Since my survival risk from going unemployed is greater than my survival risk from a Booster, I will get a Booster, probably Moderna.

    I will also do what I can to lower the chances of my getting covid, either Omicron or whatever variants come next. My desire to stay covid-free flies in the face of the establishment preferrence stated from every MSM outlet that ” everyone will get Omicron”.

    Naked Capitalism runs articles about ( or links to them) various aspects of covid, including long covid and post-covid multi-organ micro-cirrhosis and etc. If you want to take your chances on getting covid as “no more than a flu”, that will be you decision.
    I would not support it.

  27. different clue

    Here is an article taken from the NaCap blogsite which I take as strong evidence that the Biden Administration is silently committed to spreading covid to every American and may also be silently committed to covertly killing as many people as possible. It is titled ” US government moves to end daily COVID-19 death reporting by hospitals ”

    In literal terms it is “merely” designed to suppress and prevent the collection and aggregation of numbers of covid deaths per day in hospitals. But the intelligent survivalist asks hermself why it is that the Biden Administration and the DC FedRegime PermaGov organs would want to suppress and hide that information.

    And separately, the article features a quoted answer by Biden PressSec Psaki to a quoted question from the press. The sneering contempt for the American people and the American country oozes from Psaki more stenchily than from any of Trump’s PressSecs.

    I suspect that Trump, or DeTrumpis, or whatever Trump figure the Republicans run in 2024 will win by a Nixon-in-’72 landslide. The Joemala Clintobamacrats will have made themselves that personally hated by then.

    (Of course, if a hundred million perennial non-voters register to troll the vote, and come to the polls and vote to troll the vote, there will be all kinds of interesting comparative numbers to humiliate the 2 brand name parties with. If the landslide that Trump wins by turns out to be fewer voters than a hundred million troll voters casting a hundred million random troll votes for President, then reasons why may be sought. ” Ohh Lucy! You gotta lotta ‘splainin’ to do!” )

    Troll the vote.

  28. Soredemos


    de Boer has revealed himself to be an utter imbecile with this entire ‘put the kids back in school’ thing. “We should expose kids to a potentially crippling plague because many of them have shitty homelife” is arguably not even the stupidest thing he’s said recently.

  29. Ché Pasa

    No sane country would restore an addle-pated degenerate like Trump to the throne, and it won’t happen by popular vote/acclaim in this country, either. Trump is well past his best-by date. He’s over. Not coming back.

    However… in an existential crisis situation, which most of the world and the United States of America are most certainly in — turning to an autocrat-ruler for guidance or salvation is probably one of the saner things to do. I know, I know. But “our democracy!”

    Well. What about it? It’s failed, hasn’t it? Our Democracy is a very bad joke at this point.

    Note well the reinforcement of the statistical proof that the Public Will and interest has nothing at all to do with laws and lawmaking, not at the congressional level. We the Rabble are not what drives policy.

    Funny that.

    We think we’re in charge or should be.

    I see it all the time, though. This deep seated urge toward authoritarianism among the Rabble. Someone to Lead us.

    Trump was a very false prophet and leader who was set on the throne by a fluke — and even he in his addled state knew it. That doesn’t mean there can’t be someone else, better suited to the role, more competent. Better looking. Well spoken. Younger. Oh my yes, let the New Leader be younger.

    There is little doubt at this point it will happen. It will have to. The Biden regime has capitulated fully. To whom or what we still can’t see, but they have ceded the leadership mantle, and yes, children, we are on our own for the next however long time until the New Savior arises.

    Praise be. Or not…

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