MSNBC's Chris Hayes says 'this moment is, in some ways, one of the weirdest of the pandemic'

On All In With Chris Hayes Wednesday, Chris Hayes discussed why he believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant's contagiousness is changing the pandemic normal.

As the U.S. set a new record high for coronavirus infections this week, Hayes cited a professor of emerging infectious diseases at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who estimated that the R-naught of Omicron could be as high as 10, which means every person infected with Omicron infects another 10 people. In simpler terms, Omicron is way more contagious and transmissible than the original strain with an R-naught of 2.5 and the Delta variant with 7.

Hayes stated, "To stop something that infectious, something with an R-naught of 10. You would need, essentially, 100% vaccination. It's like stamping out measles. You'd basically have everyone, to get to herd immunity. We don't have that. So short of instituting just extremely dramatic lockdowns, things like we had in March and April, where every business and school closes? This variant's going to spread like crazy and that's exactly what we're seeing. And, so, this moment is, in some ways, one of the weirdest of the pandemic. We're nearing the two-year mark, and all of a sudden dealing with a somewhat different beast in some ways." Hayes then pointed out how the CDC recently amended their isolation and quarantine to just five days, before comparing Omicron's rate of transmission to the flu.

"We haven't quite had an illness this infectious and this possible to cause serious illness," explained Hayes, adding that this "does look more like the flu. Flu, of course, can still be dangerous, kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, but we don't orient our lives around the flu. That's closer to the level of risk that 200 million Americans, or less than that, are now dealing with. And then when you add in the sheer exhaustion many people feel, and I don't have to tell you this I'm sure, because you're feeling this yourself, many of you. The lengths of this disruption in our lives, obviously the politics of the pandemic are just completely different than they were earlier in the pandemic."

Video Transcript

- This moment is, in some ways, one of the weirdest of the pandemic. We're nearing the two year mark, and all of a sudden dealing with a somewhat different beast in some ways.

- On All in with Chris Hayes Wednesday, the MSNBC host explained why he believes the COVID-19 Omicron's variants contagiousness is changing the pandemic normal. As the US set a new record high for coronavirus infections this week, Hayes cited a professor of emerging infectious diseases who estimated that the "are not" of Omicron could be as high as 10, which means every person infected with Omicron infects another 10 people. In simpler terms, Omicron is way more contagious than the original strain, and the Delta variant. Hayes then compared this rate of infection to the flu.

- We hadn't quite had an illness this infectious, and it's possible to cause serious illness, to something that does look more like the flu. And the flu of course can still be dangerous, kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, but we don't orient our lives around the flu.

- Hayes went on to say that the risk of getting the flu is closer to the level of risk 200 million Americans are currently dealing with. Mix in the fact that the CDC recently changed their isolation and quarantine guidelines to only five days, Hayes ultimately said that despite there being so many people still unvaccinated, "we seem to have reached a collective decision that this level is tolerable".

- The lengths of this disruption in our lives, obviously the politics of the pandemic are just completely different than they were earlier in the pandemic.

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