In America the pandemic seems to have hit a turning-point


Health-care officials start to favour social well-being over individual illness


Omicron, a major variant of the sarscov-2 virus, prompted governments around the world to scramble to slow it down as it surged from late November. The Biden administration announced a travel ban (since revoked) against eight African countries and a shortened window for testing (from 72 hours to 24) for inbound travellers. Hospitals began filling with patients. By late December daily cases were higher than ever. More than 3,700 schools began in January with remote learning.

Yet some measures are being relaxed. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc) shortened the recommended isolation period from ten days to five, plus five of mask-wearing. On January 4th it updated the guidance to encourage testing. Anthony Fauci, the leading adviser to the White House on infectious diseases, is calling for less emphasis on case rates and a focus on hospitalisations and deaths. Why this mixed response?



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