As is typical of current events, the press and our medical “experts” are having conniptions over the inevitable appearance of yet another variant of the coronavirus. The latest such variant, named omicron in a fit of political correctness, is causing more distress to the physicians employed by the press than a bout of malignant constipation. They show no evidence of understanding the natural course of a viral epidemic.

I’ve written about this subject several times. But here it is again. The virus that survives millions of passages through infected subjects will mutate such that the virus with the best survival characteristics will prevail. The resulting virus will be able to spread better than its “competitors” and it will not kill its host. Thus, we’ll see a virus that is more contagious and less lethal. On the basis, of the information so far available, these characteristics seem those of the omicron virus

The closure of air travel and lockdowns will have little effect on this virus. The world is too connected for these actions to be little more than symbolic. Meaningless actions are preferred to appropriate inactivity in the world of information deluge. The press and the politicians do not appear to want a less lethal virus, hence the emphasis on contagion.

The new virus according to Dr Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who first noticed the new variant, causes different symptoms and a milder illness. This is what would be predicted from an understanding of the evolution of viruses. We need more information about this variant before deeming it less harmful than its siblings. We also should determine its effect on the elderly and infirm. The effectiveness against it of the vaccines currently in use likewise needs evaluation. It’s possible that a vaccine will not be needed if the mutant virus is more innocuous than its predecessors.

While we’re waiting for more information to be assembled, don’t watch too many doctors with regular TV slots.