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After Omicron, Should We Be Aiming at ‘Zero Covid’?

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Agustina Vergara Cid interviews Amesh Adalja, a well-known expert on pandemic preparedness, about the Omicron variant, the idea of “zero Covid,” and other issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the topics covered:

  • What Omicron’s high transmissibility means for hospital capacity;
  • How government Covid policies have changed from the early months of the pandemic;
  • The problem with focusing on case numbers rather than hospitalizations and deaths;
  • The merit of a harm-reduction approach to Covid-19 versus an “abstinence only” approach;
  • Why the virus that causes Covid-19, unlike the measles virus, cannot be eliminated;
  • The effectiveness of the currently available vaccines against Omicron;
  • The benefits of vaccine boosters for different populations;
  • Whether measuring every patient hospitalized “with Covid” is a good indication of hospital capacity;
  • Omicron’s effect on children and the value of pediatric vaccination;
  • The next generation of Covid-19 vaccines;
  • The protection offered by natural immunity before and after the arrival of Omicron;
  • The merits of Paxlovid and other antiviral therapeutics;
  • What explains the unavailability of Covid-19 tests, and their effectiveness at detecting Omicron;
  • The validity of the CDC’s new recommended isolation period.

Mentioned in the discussion is Adalja’s article “‘Abstinence only’ approach to COVID failed in 2021 — missed opportunity for teaching harm reduction,” published in The Hill.

The podcast was recorded on January 5, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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