Let It Go

Dear Reader (Especially the DCCC’s social media team, which for a brief moment managed to unite the warring factions of Twitter in joyful mockery),

I’m just gonna throw it out there: If I had to guess—and it’s just a guess—Omicron is good news. The panic and the economic tumult caused by the panic isn’t good news. But I’m betting that weird new spiky dude probably is.

Let’s say—as we so often do these days—you’re a maverick scientist with a god complex who plays by his own rules. You’re not interested in making death rays or finding a new place to put cheese on a pizza,  but you do want to help humanity by getting rid of COVID as quickly as possible. Maybe you’d make a vaccine you could slip into the water supply. Or maybe you’d make an aerosol version and release an army of drones to spray it over population centers. Or maybe, just maybe, you’d genetically engineer the coronavirus itself to be super contagious but also much, much more harmless; virtually no deaths and very few hospitalizations, just some sniffles and maybe a head cold. Gain of function for contagiousness, loss of function for killing people.

Now, this would obviously be super unethical, with lots of opportunities for you to say, a la Ron Burgundy in the bear pit, “I immediately regret this decision.” Pretty much any science fiction story with a premise remotely like this ends with the world plunged into a new ice age and the last scraps of humanity living out a kind of Marxist Hieronymus Bosch nightmare on a stratified-by-class super train or, more likely in this case, with the well-intentioned scientist screaming as the COVID zombies eat his face. So, I implore you not to try this at home.

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