Let Omicron Spell the End of the Pandemic—and the COVID Shaming | Opinion

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 put many people's holiday plans to rest. Just when we thought we were done with the pandemic, it roped us back in. Mercifully, according to the CDC, this variant is milder than all other forms. But the rapid proliferation of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, especially in North America, means that pretty much everyone you know who hasn't had COVID-19 will likely be getting it, no matter how many vaccines they have had, or how hard they have tried to prevent getting it.

But if you thought that this would spell the end of liberal COVID virtue signaling, the of the tarring of conservatives as anti-vaxxers and anyone who spoke up against the mixed messaging and closed schools as vectors of disease and death, you would be wrong.

The morality tale superimposed onto the virus persists. As people in blue states get infected with Omicron, they seem to be following a script in which they go out of their way to prove that their infection was not due to misbehavior, God forbid—they got the vaccines and the booster and wear their masks everywhere they go and regularly get tested. See Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson for examples of the template.

Why the need to go into detail about never having sinned? Some are saying the quiet part aloud: "There is a strange feeling of shame and embarrassment around us getting covid," as one person admitted. "We did everything we thought was right to avoid it- masks, tests, vaccines, boosters- and we still got it."

"As an ultra-cautious, triple vaccinated, always-masker I was shocked and very afraid," another tweeted. "To my surprise, I also felt ashamed. And embarrassed. How could *I* have let this happen? How could *I* have put my family at risk?"

These people want you to know they are the "good" Americans, those who wear two or three masks, didn't see family, travel or socialize for two years, and didn't leave their houses. "We did everything right," followed all the rules, and still got it!

It's the new confessional, not Catholic but COVID. "Forgive me, Dr. Fauci, for I have sinned," they cry out. And it's not just individual citizens that are posting their COVID Confessions. It's politicians and public health officials, journalists and other public figures. And it's really weird.

These tweets and the culture they emerged from betray the truth about much of the "fight" against COVID that liberals seem unable to let go of, even when the virus comes for them. Rather than admit that a virus doesn't care about your virtue, they experience getting infected with COVID as shameful—because they wanted others to feel shame.

Note the notifications of deaths, either "with" or "from" COVID, that dutifully include an announcement of the deceased's vaccination status. Is this to avoid ghoulish trolls mocking those who chose not to, or could not take the vaccine? Or public proof that the deceased did the "right" thing and was therefore a moral person and not to blame for their own demise?

Since when in human history has someone's vaccination status ever been included in an obituary? These obligatory COVID/Vaccine Acknowledgement Statements are like some kind of new Land Acknowledgements for the COVID Zero faithful. If only blue state liberals could acknowledge the truth: that no one should feel guilt or shame for getting a highly infectious disease.

Omicron in liberal cities
People walk past a covid-19 testing booth on a street in New York city on December 21, 2021. - Days out from Christmas, Americans are facing long lines to get tested for the coronavirus amid a new surge driven by the Omicron variant and a dire shortage of options for this vital screening measure. ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

After all, we don't shame people for getting chickenpox or seasonal influenza or any number of other highly contagious respiratory viruses or diseases. It's something many liberals actually know in other contexts; they would never shame someone for getting an illness that is even related to their behavior, like obesity, alcoholism and some forms of diabetes. Why is this a thing with COVID?

Now especially, as we hopefully transition to the endemic phase of COVID-19, the COVID shaming has got to stop. The only entities that should feel guilt, shame or be blamed for the spread of this virus are China and the Wuhan Virology Lab. The "Scarlet C" belongs squarely upon them.

If only liberals would relinquish it.

Laura Rosen Cohen is a Toronto-based writer.

The views in this article are the writer's own.