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Wasn’t it Stalin who said ‘the death of one person is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic’, or something close to that?

Whoever said it, it’s too bad they aren’t around to witness the world’s reaction to the latest COVID wave.

Few would contest the claim that the media, in the US and around the world, have been spreading panic about the omicron wave, amplifying FUD that has (mildly) impacted equity markets, and terrified millions during a second consecutive holiday season.

But every once in a while, we think, it’s helpful to give the people a break from the madness, and offer instead a glimpse at the reality.

And the reality is that, as numbers of confirmed COVID cases skyrocket (a phenomenon that has, coincidentally enough, occurred alongside a surge in testing), Germany has only just today confirmed its first death of a person infected with omicron.

As a reminder, Germany, Ireland, and The Netherlands have reimposed partial or full lockdowns and measures in recent days, citing the surging winter caseload and warnings from the scientific community about the threat posed by omicron (a strain that, although it appears to spread more quickly, is clearly causing fewer hospitalizations and deaths, according to research published by several different sources yesterday). Germany’s health minister said Wednesday he had not ruled out a full lockdown to suppress Omircon’s spread.

Meanwhile, in Italy, a country that was unfortunately traumatized by COVID during the first wave, the federal government has decided to reduce the duration of the country’s “green pass” for vaccinated Italians to six months from 9.

In addition, the Italian government has mandated wearing masks outdoors again, for all who dare stray from their homes during the holiday season. Local governments, like Rome, have been imposing outdoor mask mandates of their own in recent weeks.

Now, here are the two charts readers need to put this all in context: cases and deaths tallies from Germany and Italy.

It makes us wonder: has the scientific community really learned nothing from the COVID pandemic?

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