Two Years To Slow the Spread

Democrat Bill de Blasio declared that to prevent the spread of COVID-19 omicron, all 184,000 businesses within the city will be required by law to make vaccine requirements on employees. Children ages 5 to 12 years old (including visitors from other countries not yet approved for vaccines) must show proof of immunization prior to entering indoor venues.

“Look at a country like Germany right now—shutdowns, restrictions,” de Blasio explained in a follow-up interview. This cannot happen. “So we needed to be decisive.”

The Democratic Governor. Kathy Hochul declared that New York businesses would have to make sure their customers and employees were properly vaccinated. Each violation could result in a $1,000 fine. New rules will be in place until January 15. “After that, the State will evaluate current conditions.”

Hochul made her announcement almost six months after Andrew Cuomo had announced it. Elevated almost all statewide COVID restrictions, including most indoor masking, on the occasion of New York meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) target of having 70 percent of adults receive at least one vaccination dose. Cuomo proclaimed, “We can now go back to the way we know it.” Hochul’s reverse was completed by 93 percent of adult New Yorkers.

It’s not enough to shift the goal posts regarding pandemic policies. Joe Biden was elected president on December 4, 2020. He stated, “I don’t think.” [vaccines]Should be obligatory.” Jen Psaki (his spokeswoman) stated on July 23rd, 2021 that this was not the responsibility of the federal governments. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC stated unambiguously on July 31: “There will not be a federal mandate.”

Biden announced that a federal mandate was being placed on private companies employing at least 100 people five weeks after the announcement.

President Trump maintained that “I have done all I can to make sure people get vaccinated.” “But even after all those efforts, we still had more than a quarter of people in the United States who were eligible for vaccinations but didn’t get the shot….So, while I didn’t race to do it right away, that’s why I’ve had to move toward requirements.” See what you did for him.

You could make fun of the president’s pandemic-related nonsense back in the days when Donald Trump held extemporaneous bull session on COVID each day on the White House lawn or when he famously presented a bullet-pointed presentation entitled “15 Days to Slow The Spread” on March 16, 2020. Even with hindsight bias included, this was an outrageously reckless prediction about a virus that is already infecting every continent. This was at a time where testing was inadequate (particularly in the U.S.).

Trump was back in that environment, just like Cuomo (his then-lionized and now disgraced competitor), in which knowledge and mitigation strategies were exponentially greater than those public officials have now. American adults received a one-shot shot of vaccination at 0 percent, not 86 per cent (as this publication goes to print). It was still being reiterated to us that we should wash our hands multiple times per day, for at least 20 seconds each time. Also, to not touch our faces too often. Because the notion of government controlling all human activity was new, politicians began to attach restrictions to particular metrics. Cuomo’s mantra to “flatten” the curve referred both to hospitalizations and the number of beds. With the promise of long-term relief, it was common to sell immediate-term discomforts.

“If everyone makes…these critical changes and sacrifices now,” Trump said on “Slow the Spread” day, as a phalanx of top public health officials looked on, “we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus, and we’re going to have a big celebration all together. It takes several weeks to focus our actions and we will be able to turn the corner quickly.

Families of the 800,000.0 dead Americans will testify that such corners have never been turned. What has come to replace those unrealistic and precocious projections is nothing less.

The benchmarks that were used for lifting restrictions are constantly being rewritten and quietly dropped. Often, there is little to no explanation. In the space of a week, major policy promises were broken and rewritten. And you can’t just blame the capriciousness on the shifting viral facts on the ground—bureaucrats have been agonizingly slow to recognize advances in knowledge that support policy loosening yet lightning-fast when reacting to any new source of fear. While it was quick for the Biden Administration and New York Democrats to crack down on the omicron variation, the CDC took more than a decade to realize that COVID-19 is not being caught outdoors.

Officials have abandoned the use of coercion and forged public trust by issuing a series of far-reaching and arbitrary edicts. Instead of a light at the end of the tunnel—or even endemic coping at the end of pandemic panic—we’re being offered a future of politicians reluctantly handing out a carrot or two before reaching once again for the stick.

The 1-2 Punch in the Mouth

Mike Tyson once famously stated that everyone has a plan, except for when they are punched in their mouths. COVID-19 not only punched millions of people in their mouths, but the government’s response to it proved to be a devastating second blow. Scores of millions of families and businesses have had to suffer a slow recovery.

Gavin Newsom of California, the Democratic governor was the one who banned outdoor dining when there were less than 15% ICU beds. Within a week, a judge declared that the policy wasn’t supported by science, evidence or logic. Newsom cancelled the order seven days later. The threshold had not been reached in the majority of the state.

De Blasio closed New York City’s public schools on November 2020, because of a rise in positive test rates among New Yorkers above 3 percent. Even though this threshold was much lower than the recommended international guidelines, weekly school tests were only showing 0.18 percent positivity. This was not considered for elementary schools until 10 days later, nor for middle school and high schools until four months after that. Science!

Think about being a landlord for the last two years. COVID increases your tenant’s chances of not paying rent, prompting millions to be renegotiated. The Trump administration then makes an absurd decision, which is clearly unconstitutional, to give the CDC the responsibility of enforcing a federal moratorium regarding evictions. Let’s put aside the gross violation in property rights for a minute and imagine how it would have felt to attempt to plan residential realty.

On June 24, 2021 the CDC extended what they called the “final extension” of the moratorium, pushing it to July 31. Psaki, White House Press Secretary, announced on August 2, that Rochelle Walsky (CDC Director) and her staff had failed to secure legal authority for a targeted eviction ban. Literally, the CDC issued a new targeted eviction moratorium for 90 percent. (The Supreme Court would, at the close of the month, reverse this decision.

The exception is the occasional court case, but most government bodies have abandoned the notion of a limiting principle for their enormous new pandemic powers. They also no longer offer today’s restrictions to be a ticket for tomorrow’s freedoms. When a new wave is formed, politicians prepare their constituents to take a quick jab now in an effort to defer another one.

Hochul used her December anti-mask-and-vaccine crackdown in order to prevent business disruption; de Blasio sold new mandates saying: “We cannot allow those restrictions back.” New York City cannot be shut down. It’s important to move forward.

The omicron, which is more deadly and less likely to cause death than the more common variant of infection, has helped prevent infections. However, elites continued to focus on cases and ignore serious illnesses. They sowed panic and increased clampdowns. Eric Dickson, President of University of Massachusetts Memorial Healthcare said that Massachusetts is the nation’s most vaccined state. However, the surge in COVID is worse than last year. NBC Nightly News scare story in December. Dickson’s shocking claim revealed that 17 Bay State deaths were on average in seven days, as compared to 51 last year.

All this leads to the possibility that government intervention will never end. Jennifer Nuzzo (Johns Hopkins epidemiologist) wrote November 2021 that “It’s good policy and practice” to set up off-ramps in case of interventions not meant to last. “We need to be able answer the question of what would make it possible for an end.”

But politicians and public health officials, particularly in Democratic-controlled institutions, are increasingly unable to spell out any such conditions. There is no ending for them.

Take the mask off

November 3 saw the first vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years old being made available. A new Pfizer therapeutic was preliminarily shown to be capable of preventing serious illness or death for COVID patients. Walensky released an “Ask the Expert”, video answering the question “Why still do I need to wear my mask?”

The country’s top-ranking public healthcare scientist said, “The evidence supports our belief.” The spread of COVID-19 can be prevented by wearing a mask. It reduces your chances of getting sick from any source, including the flu or the coronavirus. Wearing your mask, in conjunction with taking other precautions like hand washing and vaccinations, is an important step to ensure that we all stay healthy.

That was quite irresponsible.

For two years, as the country has engaged in bitterly partisan and intensely moralistic debates over nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)—masking, social distancing, business closures—the single greatest difference maker by far in blunting the lethal impact of the virus has been vaccination. In fall 2021, Americans who were not vaccinated were 10-20 times more likely than Americans who received shots to prevent COVID-19.

Walensky was the one who, at the exact week when immunizations became readily available for elementary-school children, placed vaccination on the list with the mostly forgotten NPIs (hand washing, social distancing) in an attempt to prevent any loss of support for the inferior NPI. The CDC Director lowered the vaccine’s status to an afterthought. This not only shattered the hope of many parents that their kids would ever get vaccinated, but also lied about the science.

It is not known if masks reduce COVID infection by more than 80 percent. In fact, the majority of studies done at that time did not find any evidence to support this claim. vaccines to be 80 percent effective at stopping transmission in the delta era (although they did better at stopping symptomatic cases and hospitalizations). The arrival of vaccines for children was an opportunity to exaggerate how effective face covers are. Parents were sent the message that compliance is not enough to get their kids to stop wearing masks.

Walensky, in a promotion tweet for the video, highlighted non-COVID advantages of wearing facial coverings all the time. Walensky wrote that masks “also protect against other illnesses such as common cold or flu.” It was not uncommon for a smiley doctor to suggest that open-ended masking be done in flu season.

However, when the CDC speaks, the governments of the places people put “In this home, we believe science” yard signs are more likely to endorse the recommendations. At mid-December 15 states still had school-mask mandates. Biden won all of them in November 2020. Trump was also voted in the two other states that had school-mask mandate bans. New York’s law requires children aged 2 or older to use masks at all times in public schools or daycare settings, regardless of whether they are in the youngest age cohort. Teachers must also be certified. Hochul, a 63-year-old vaccinated, is far more at risk for COVID than an unvaccinated 4-year old. Hochul also appears in many photos taken indoors in crowds on social media.

Colorado is a state of purple with a Democratic-leaning governor. This approach has been quite different. Democratic Governor: “There was once a time that there wasn’t a vaccine and masks were all you had and we needed them to protect ourselves.” Colorado Public Radio interviewed Jared Polis in December. We now have more effective vaccines than we used to be able to mask the disease. A mask can reduce your chance of contracting COVID. This is a great thing to wear indoors with others. However, if COVID is diagnosed and the person has not been vaccinated, then it’s just as dangerous as if they were. Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated….At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault.” Is that really so difficult?

The scenes in rest of the nation look awfully dystopian. They include kids eating outside, freezing, and high schoolers in New York City. (where the positive CoVID rate among unvaccinated regularly tested children is less than 0.3% this fall); glum television commercials reminding parents that “without vaccines, your child’s team will lose out.” Your teen might be left behind if their peers go to concerts, the movies or eat out with friends.

Asked about some of those images in December, White House spokeswoman Psaki replied, “I will tell you, I have a 3-year-old who goes to school, sits outside for snacks and lunch, wears a mask inside, and it’s no big deal to him….These are steps that schools are taking to keep kids safe.”

The CDC has not been able to provide evidence that Psaki’s child is safer due to such precautions. America’s school masking guidance is a global outlier—the World Health Organization recommends against masking children aged 5 and younger, and only a handful of countries in the European Union were masking elementary school students in fall 2021. The country’s national public health agency never once mentioned a masking study with a meaningful control group in an attempt to convince the public it is rational and prudent. Officials are relying on their intuition and tens to millions of children suffer from poor physical, mental, and social development. To avoid spreading the virus, they’re far more susceptible than vaccinated adults.

A pandemic is not a time to trust people by misrepresenting science in order to achieve a desired policy outcome. Adding to this suspicion, the CDC deliberately downplayed mask effectiveness at the start of the pandemic out of concern that worried consumers would stockpile the limited supply of quality protective equipment required by nurses and doctors. “Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” tweeted then–Surgeon General Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020. “They’re not effective in preventing…” [the]The #Coronavirus is not contagious to the general population, however, if it’s difficult for healthcare professionals to get sick patients under their care, then this puts our community and ourselves at risk.”

Biden’s administration was meant to increase scientific rigor in the building. Yet Walensky repeatedly manipulated research findings to suit her policy demands for Americans to be covered with real and metaphorical prophylactics. Only April 2021 was the last time that the CDC stopped recommending outdoor masking, even though it did so only for vaccinated individuals. Washington has a relatively high population, but still requires outdoor masks.

America prepared for the omicron waves before Christmas. Blue-state mandates emerged: vaccination passports for Philadelphia; booster-shot requirements for several elite universities; a renewal of the California indoor mask mandate. Newsom stated that the imperative was to overcome this winter surge. Newsom stated, “And that it is possible to come out of this winter surge with a positive outlook and a chance for us to reevaluate.”

Schools in heavily Democratic districts—Cleveland, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; West Chicago, Illinois; Prince George’s County, Maryland—preemptively responded to the omicron surge after Christmas break by once again shifting to remote-only learning. My first grader is in Brooklyn’s elementary school. Teachers staged a sickout following Christmas break, which led to a sudden closure. “We are demanding,” they wrote in a letter to outraged parents, “the city and our union take…actions to stop the spread.”

Only a few weeks are left to stop this spread. You could even wait for months. Or for many years.