The Public Health and the Omicron Virus Relationship
The given journal entry will reflect on the article about Omicron, where the social perception of its so-called “mildness” is partly the reason for record-high hospitalizations. The article explains why the given perception makes people less cautious of the disease, which results in higher transmissibility, infection, and hospitalizations. For example, it is stated that “other characteristics of Omicron – its immune-evasiveness and transmissibility – more than outweigh its relatively less severe symptoms” (Schreiber, 2022, para. 17). The demonstrated dynamic between the virus variant and societal perception of the latter is an ideal illustration of structural functionalism. Such a perspective views society as a form of mutual agreement, which, in the case of Omicron, is misleading and results in record-high cases.
The article demonstrates the intricate relationship between public health and the population’s approach toward the virus. It reminds the reading of key sociological concepts and theories of how functionalism does not necessarily operate functionally. The concept of society does not correspond to a set of individuals but to organized forms of interaction between people, which are supported by a social system striving for a stable balance. Therefore, social actions must be seen as institutional patterns that support a systemic whole. The article states that “Omicron is less severe than Delta – but Delta was itself more severe than previous variants,” which reflects how the current reactionary approach made the public desensitized to the virus (Schreiber, 2022, para. 12). However, certain questions do come up while reading the article. How significant or impactful is the social perception of the virus on the rate of hospitalizations and infections? What non-reactionary could be put in place for the disease spread to be independent of social perception?
Schreiber, M. (2022). ‘I have no intention of getting infected’: Understanding Omicron’s severity. The Guardian. Web.