Omicron: A case of mass psychosis

We cannot allow for the coronavirus omicron variant to be presented as a new apocalypse, warns columnist Krzysztof Wołodźko

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Krzysztof Wołodźko
Pedestrians wearing face masks against the coronavirus walk along Regent Street in London, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. A pandemic-weary world faces weeks of confusing uncertainty as countries restrict travel and take other steps to halt the newest potentially risky coronavirus mutant before anyone knows just how dangerous omicron really is. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

A few days ago, the general director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that the introduction of travel restrictions by several countries was an “irrational response” to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

His stance is pleasing, as I am increasingly often getting the impression that we are globally falling for a case of exaggerated hysteria far removed from reality.

It is as if this global shock therapy is supposed to continue for forever without reflecting on the fact that it is easy to miss the moment in which the cure will become worse than the disease.

I will be clear: I support voluntary vaccinations and wearing masks in closed public spaces.

It is easy to miss the moment in which the cure will become worse than the disease.

Yet, I also know very well that media mechanisms (and also the less known and not very readable market mechanisms) often play on powerful emotions.

We will all lose out to mass psychosis, the weakest among us more so as usual.

It is worth remembering that people in Poland still die from cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and mental problems. When I see, hear and read that omicron is being presented as basically a new apocalypse, I say clearly: we cannot allow this.

Not because I am downplaying pandemic challenges. They are still here.

Instead, we must also recognize that mass psychosis is also a severe and difficult social disease.

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