The imminent arrival of a vaccine should be a moment of unity, but still isn’t enough to slow down cherry-picking negative stats to blame Trump and shame Americans
In any reasonable world, the arrival of a vaccine as soon as next week would be cause for celebration on both the right and the left. It’s a historic achievement by any standard and a much-needed moment for all of us to come together. Despite our many differences of opinion on almost every aspect of the virus and the response to it, we’re about six months away from returning to normal life.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world, or at least the mainstream media doesn’t. After months of downplaying or outright denying the possibility of having a vaccine available by the end of the year, the media has completely switched gears to complaining there won’t be enough doses in the first shipment and placing the blame squarely on Trump.
CNN reports that “State health departments and governors’ offices across the country are finally being told by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed how many doses of the coronavirus vaccine they will initially be receiving once the vaccine is authorized, and it’s not enough.”
The vaccine in question hasn’t even officially been approved by the FDA yet. That approval isn’t expected until this Thursday. Pfizer didn’t finish clinical trials until November 8, less than a month ago. They didn’t submit their data to the FDA until several days later. In total, there has barely been three weeks to finalize these plans, but CNN apparently knows how to move faster and ship more doses.
The New York Times goes one step further, lamenting that the Trump administration could’ve purchased more doses of the Pfizer vaccine. “Trump administration officials passed when Pfizer offered in late summer to sell the U.S. government additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Of course, no one knew whether the vaccine was either safe or effective over the summer.
The whole point of Operation Warp Speed was to place bets on multiple providers and distribute the risk, operating under the assumption that diversification would ensure at least one candidate was effective. The New York Times certainly knows this. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services was quoted in their own article, “We are confident that we will have 100 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine as agreed to in our contract, and beyond that, we have five other vaccine candidates.”
The New York Times also neglects to mention that Pfizer’s head of vaccines stated emphatically just last month that the company didn’t participate in Operation Warp Speed. Now the concern is that the contract with Operation Warp Speed wasn’t big enough.
Sadly, the arrival of the vaccine is coinciding with the long expected fall spike in coronavirus cases and deaths. This unfortunate surge was predicted by almost everyone over the same summer — around the time when almost no one was expecting a vaccine so soon.
On September 10, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.” Now, however, we’re suddenly surprised that it’s not, in fact, easy, and, equally suddenly, comparisons with Europe are back in fashion.
Ishaan Tharoor is leading the charge for the Washington Post, writing in article conveniently headlined “Europe Is Beating The Pandemic’s Surge. The U.S. Is Not”:
“There are clear metrics of national success: After implementing a strict lockdown and closing nonessential businesses, France has brought daily new cases from about 50,000 a day to roughly 10,000. A month ago, Belgium had the worst infection rate in Europe, with experts warning of the potential collapse of the nation’s health-care infrastructure. Now, it has the fifth lowest infection rate on the continent and plans in place to start distributing vaccines in the first week of January.”
This all sounds wonderful, except Belgium has already had some of the worst numbers in the Western world, leading all of Europe with 150.62 dead per hundred thousand of the population, dwarfing even Italy (98.6) and Spain (98.54). The United States is 86.71, lower than all three.
Conveniently, the Washington Post also switched between raw cases and infection rates in the same paragraph. A slightly closer look at the data reveals that the number of tests conducted in France has dropped dramatically during the period in question. Tests peaked in France on November 5 at 4.96 per 100,000 residents. Since then, they have gone down to 2.5 to 10,000 on December 6. Their case positivity rate on the other hand remains firmly in the red zone at over 10%, meaning about half of the decline in reported cases is actually due to less testing.
To be sure, the case positivity rate in France has declined, from a whopping 21.2% in late October to 10.7% on December 3, but the 7-day rolling average remains 10.8%. The 7-day rolling average in the US on December 3 was 9.8%. It has since increased to 10.5% as of December 7, but still hasn’t come close to 20% since mass testing was implemented in June.
In fact, our highest positivity rates have been around 12.1%. France has been a full three quarters higher.
This hasn’t prevented the media from endlessly shaming the American people for refusing to remain locked in their homes like livestock. The same Washington Post tweeted on November 25, “As Americans prepare to gather for Thanksgiving, the world watches with dread and disbelief.”
The article, supposedly a news report, added that international reporters were “covering Thanksgiving travel in the United States extensively, with a mixture of concern, bewilderment and schadenfreude.” They even found an expert no one has ever heard of, Yap Boum, a Cameroonian epidemiologist, who said it was “really crazy.”
There was no comparable coverage of the craziness of lockdowns in California that shutdown small businesses, but allow film crews to continue to operate in their hundreds.
In a video that went viral on YouTube, Angela Marsden, the owner of the Pineapple Hill Grill & Saloon in Sherman Oaks explains how her restaurant was completely shuttered by the new regulations, even for outdoor dining.
“So this is my place, the Pineapple Hill Grill & Saloon. If you go to my [Facebook] page you can see all the work I did for outdoor dining, for tables being seven feet apart,” she says in the video. “Those tables have since been shut down, but right next to them are much larger tents for a much larger crowd for a movie production.
“I’m losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio,” Marsden continues. “And people wonder why I’m protesting and why I have had enough.”
CNN has, not surprisingly, had enough of the Trump Administration. This morning, Stephen Collinson lamented that Biden and his team of experts will not be in office for another six weeks.
“In the meantime, the tragedy of the pandemic is being exacerbated by the political vacuum in Washington. Trump, in his last weeks in office, has the power and presidential megaphone that could go a long way toward convincing Americans to take precautions, but has no inclination to do so. Biden has the plans and a fresh team of experts who could make a difference, but he has no real power to shift American behavior and policies until he is inaugurated next month.”
Moments like these make one wonder if Collinson and others just arrived from some alternative dimension or perhaps have slept through the past year: Biden has the plans and a fresh team of experts to do what exactly? Ask us to wear masks? We’ve been doing that for 9 months. Ask us to social distance? Almost 10 months. Lock us down again? We’ve never fully come out of lockdown. Get us a vaccine? It’s already done.
Their preferred Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, has asked us to unite. Well, here’s an issue we should all readily unite behind, but surprise, surprise the media won’t let us. There’s still Trump to blame and the American people to shame.