@Annoyed_Science - Turns out "the science" is exactly as conservatives described, and exactly the opposite of what "expert scientists" warned us about

"Doctor" Bauer's take aged like a fine wine that you didn't realize until years later it had a real cork and couldn't be stored upright.

The known fact that viruses tend to evolve to be either extremely mild and therefore easy to spread, or extremely virulent and therefore easy to spread, has been known for a long time. As the linked article notes, the recent developments on this file have been learning how fast a virus can do this. It designs itself to get around immune responses, you see.

In 2019 everybody knew this. By mid-2020 only conservatives did. As a result, when the virus began to mutate around the vaccine (another thing only a conservative pundit could have told you during the global Wuhan Flu panic) the chattering expert class warned you over and over again that this mutation would be the worst ever.

Instead in 2021 we got two primary variants: Delta and Xi (huh, they skipped that name for some reason and went with Omicron). Each of these two mutations chose a much different method of improving their viruscraft (and apologies for anthropomorphising them). Delta was aggressive. It knew that once it took hold, it was a capital-d capital-v Deadly Virus and would damn well act on it. When it got a hold of a victim it grabbed hard and did everything it could to replicate at the cost of its host's health. I should know, I had Delta and it was quite something. I almost sniffled one night. Omicron took the other angle: it just kind of nibbled away at the edges of its host, trying very very very very hard not to get noticed. If you got Delta you stayed at home and in bed and didn't go out to The Keg because you felt like garbage. If you got Omicron you felt wonderful and had no symptoms and went out to the Keg and didn't find out anything was wrong until you started getting the contact tracing phone calls.

Politically this is one of the things that helped kill the Wuhan Flu fearmongering in western nations: huge numbers of people I knew who believed in the holy cult of masking and social distancing and vaccine passports did "everything" right and it didn't matter one bit: they got COVID anyways, sometimes twice over just a few months. However having got COVID they didn't feel great for a few days, got better, and collectively asked "wait, was that it? that's the big disease we've been miserable over for two years now?"

From a virus's perspective both of these two methods are superior to how it was spreading before: it either gets a wonderful life on the high hog, or else it does okay individually and spreads wonderfully collectively. These are the ideal end-states for a virus, so much like picking one of two chess strategies it was simply a matter of personal (er, viral) tastes.

Now obviously from the perspective of an individual human, the Omicron method is way better: you don't feel nearly as bad and it's almost impossible for you to die. Delta is a harder sell for any individual, however as a collective species the Delta is actually better: it's far better in an "area under the curve" sense for 2% of your total (sick and elderly) herd population to die alone and in pain than for 0.00002% to die with the tradeoff being that roughly 98% of the rest of your population will forever feel kind of crappy for a few weeks of the year every year forever and ever and ever amen.

Do you want 2% at 0% and 98% at 100%? Or do you want 100% to be at 99%? Run the numbers and you'll (collectively) take the first option over the second every time. Of course, we don't live (despite the false claims from the Marxists) in a society that values the overall health and efficiency of the population above and beyond the affairs of any individual member: if we did, and it turned out you could live longer by eating the heart of a nigger, we'd have heart-farms all over Africa. From each according to his ability yadda yadda yadda.

This is why its meaningless blather (and an example of "expert" overthinking) to treat viral "reproduction rates" as the big thing to be worried about. If you've decided politically that "death from COVID-19" is the only metric to be paying attention to, then you'll want the Omicron methodology. Yes yes technically its a "better" virus but it doesn't do the thing you've been endlessly worried about: it just goes around, everybody gets it, our immune systems improve, and oh shit didn't I suggest this three years ago?

Like I said, we haven't been wrong about this thing yet.