by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The pandemic has been a wellspring for poor reporting and analysis for portions of three calendar years now, with reactions to the spread of the Omicron variant serving as a catalyst in the opening days of 2022.
Some habitual hysterics, including Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a public-health scientist who previously taught at Harvard, have sought to use the emergence and spread of Omicron to argue for more restrictions and mandates, mocking the idea that it’s milder than previous iterations of the virus. Feigl-Ding even went so far as to suggest that “whoever arrogantly pushed the ‘#Omicron is mild’ [narrative]” be fired. In support of his theory, Feigl-Ding points his more than 600,000 Twitter followers to rising pediatric-hospitalization rates.
However, these data neither vindicate Feigl-Ding’s perspective, nor convict those he’s criticizing. A report from the New York Times indicates that overlapping cases attributable to both the Delta and Omicron variants – as well as lower vaccination rates in children – are what’s driving the rise in hospitalizations. The fact that the vaccines were approved later for children than they were adults, as well as the lack of consequences of infection for them relative to their parents and grandparents, has resulted in fewer of them being inoculated.
Moreover, the rising number of hospitalized children who have tested positive for the virus include many who arrived at the facilities with other medical issues. In fact, the Times report stated that “around the country have reported positivity rates as high as 20 percent among children. But the vast majority were asymptomatic and arrived at the hospital with other health problems.” … Pediatric coronavirus hospitalizations still have yet to come close to matching the typical amount of seasonal pediatric flu cases seen in a year.