Will The Omicron Variant Be The Proverbial Last Straw That “Breaks” Us?

Just when we thought that the worst is upon us and we have resumed our pre-pandemic way of living and working, the Omicron variant is making its presence felt, and that too, how!! Right from even vaccinations not being effective, to its high transmission rates, and with no known treatment that is effective against this variant, the Omicron variant comes at a time when hope was rekindling. Moreover, the West, which was in a self congratulatory mode, having achieved high vaccination rates, now finds itself confronting the scourge again, and that too, bang in the middle of its annual holiday season. Indeed, Santa Claus has been interrupted!!, and Christmas ruined with the possibility of 2022 witnessing yet another round of lockdown.

In India, the government has been warning of a “fourth surge” and a “third wave”, betraying nervousness, just at the time when its elites were celebrating the end of the pandemic. Perhaps, we Should Not Have Unlocked In A Hurry, and should have been better prepared. Moreover, The Pandemic Has Laid India’s Faultlines, and with a lethal cocktail of job losses, high death toll (not entirely captured or recorded in the official statistics), asbsent state support, increased polarization, and aggressive behavior, brought on by one or a combination of the factors above, a Third Wave can be the proverbial “last straw” which “breaks us”. Indeed, India, Always a Functioning Anarchy, Risks Descent Into Madness, if the Omicron variant does really lead us back into the “inferno” which was the brutal Second Wave.

The point about the Omicron variant is that it is spreading at a time when governments worldwide proclaimed the “new normal”, and many leading thought leaders, including Bill Gates, predicted that Covid would become “endemic”, just like the common cold, by 2022. In other words, the arrival of the Omicron variant coincides with our “flawed” assumptions regarding “returning to normal”, prompting me to wonder, Whether We Would Ever Return to Normal? Moreover, the expected “surge” or the “wave” is expected to hit children hard, on top of their “lost years” due to the pandemic, as I explain, Why We Risk Losing a Generation of Learners?

The Omicron surge also comes at a time when fatigued citizenry world over were “reacting” to any event in a belligerent and violent manner, and god help us, if we have to endure more of this. In a way, this variant is “killing hope” and we need to Limit the Damage and Control the Outbreak, before it breaks us. Already there is a sense of “weirdness” about the world we live in, and the New Weird Can Well Become the New Normal. Moreover, the forced isolation and the endless quarantining of people have left us With a Bad Case of Post Pandemic Blues, if left unaddressed can lead to widespread unrest and societal breakdown. Indeed, we are at a dangerous moment in history when the “social contract” is in peril and at risk of breaking down.

As our old “certainties” collapse and we survey an unfamiliar terrain, we turn to technology for solace and comfort. The Only Good from the Pandemic is that it has ushered in the Digital Age. However, as we realize, sometimes painfully and worse, traumatically, the exponential acceleration that is part of our addiction to tech can leave us At the Mercy of Virality and Make us Struggle For Existence. Just like the “viral” infection, technology has taken over our lives, and left us with the transient viral memes and Tweets, and Facebook posts, which leads to a phenomenon called Present Shock i.e. living just for the moment. This is why the Pandemic Can be The End of the World, as We Have Known It.

Last, while many were hoping that 2022 would be better than 2021 or 2020, when this pandemic started, I think that The Next Year Would be a Hopeless Year, where our helplessness and our inability to “do something” would take us down the Rabbit Hole further and who knows, what 2022 has in store for us. So, here’s to the holidays and if you have read this far, thanks and wishes for a Great Year Ahead!!

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