Mace appears on C-SPAN in early November | File photo | Credit: C-SPAN

This was supposed to be the end-of-year editorial to celebrate good cheer with holiday glee. But two completely unrelated things dashed our hopes to spread a message of goodwill: the omicron variant and our member of Congress, Rep. Nancy Mace.

We’ve all been so ready for the pandemic to be over that many of us have abandoned cautious behavior designed to thwart the spread of the virus. Masks are few and far between in pictures of festive holiday outings and parties that dominate social media. People are back in crowded restaurants. Stores are filled with unmasked shoppers piling carts high with holiday delights and stocking-stuffers. 

Health care professionals say the omicron variant is more contagious than anything we’ve yet experienced.

It may not be as virulent, but it’s still a dangerous virus that can kill, particularly the 45% of South Carolinians over age 12 who still haven’t been vaccinated. Researchers are predicting that unless we return to safe behavior, the holidays will bring a horrible hangover — another surge that will pack hospitals, stress medical workers and kill more Americans. Some 800,00 — the most of any country in the world — have already died.

Let’s not be dumb in the weeks ahead. Let’s go back to lessons that we know stop the spread and save lives:

1. Get vaccinated and boosted. Doing so should protect you, but will also weaken symptoms if you are unlucky enough to get COVID-19.

2. Wear masks. Nobody likes them, but they cut the rate of infections.

3. Wash your hands frequently. It’s easy and cheap and effective.

4. Maintain social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone as much as you can.

5. Avoid crowds and indoor spaces with poor air flow.

6. Cover your coughs and sneezes.

7. Test yourself. If you feel even a little sick, you should get a COVID-19 test to make sure you don’t spread it to others.

Yes, it’s a pain to revert back to pandemic prevention. But we need to do it now so we can get back to normal soon. 

On another subject, thumbs down to the GOP’s Mace for a recent publicity stunt in which she dragged some too-willing reporters on a Gilligan’s Island-esque cruise around an island just so she could stick pins in Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most recognizable face in the fight against the pandemic.

This whole escapade was a solution in search of a manufactured problem. She claims she’s irritated about a monkey colony on a protected island near Beaufort that provides animals for federal research. 

Nice try, Nancy. It’s clear that all you wanted to do is get in the media to feed your ego, poke Fauci in the eye and feather your own nest as state legislators seem to be working on ways to make your congressional district more competitive in 2022, to the delight of Democrats, independents and the Republicans running against you. Focus on real problems, not the ones you manufacture.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.