Coronavirus cases have spiked to the highest levels ever seen, but quarantine and testing requirements have been loosened, and future guidance now has to balance the need for a functioning economy, society, and what people in general will tolerate. Once upon a time, people that said the same were accused of having blood on their hands…
The numbers don’t lie, or at least the numbers we valued once upon a time when President Trump was in office. Coronavirus cases have spiked to the highest levels ever seen, hundreds of thousands of cases a day, close to double what we considered the apex of the pandemic a year ago. Hospitalizations have increased as well, climbing to their high points this past summer. If the past is prologue, we can expect the death rate to increase over the next month, even while Omicron might be milder, its infecting so many people casualties are inevitable. The CDC is predicting 44,000 dead in just 4 weeks. All this, barely a year after then-candidate Joe Biden claimed he would “shut down the virus.” On October 20, 2020, he tweeted, “I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.” Lest there be any mistake in his meaning and how he would deal this more effectively than his predecessor, then President-elect Biden declared the Trump Administration’s inability to fully implement on-demand testing a “travesty” that December, and promised “We are going to get through this. Brighter days are coming.”
Alas, those days are certainly not here yet, but an incredibly amazing and equally troubling development happened between Christmas and New Years: The Biden Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and much of the mainstream media suddenly and miraculously discovered that none of this really matters much after all. As cases increased dramatically, their story changed just as dramatically. Quarantine and testing requirements have been suddenly loosened despite the surge, case counts are now considered largely irrelevant, and future guidance has to balance the need for a functioning economy, society, and what people in general will tolerate. Here’s the CDC, issuing new guidelines reducing restrictions in the face of the surge last Monday, “People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”
What is this new science they speak of that cuts the quarantine period from a draconian fifteen days back when Trump was in office down to a manageable five days now? Before the announcement, Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed, “Because there are a lot of people in society that are essential for the smooth running of the infrastructure of our society. So the idea about cutting down the period of quarantine for people who have been exposed, and perhaps the period of isolation for people who have been infected, is something that is under, I would say, serious consideration.” After, he said we can’t “drain society of their very critical workers.” “It’s not 100% risk-free but then again nothing is 100% risk-free,” he added. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy concurred that the science suddenly says so, “Let me make clear that we are standing on the shoulders of two years of science, two years of understanding transmissibility, and a lot of information that we have gleaned from the wild type virus, as well as the alpha and delta variants and more that we continue to learn every single day about omicron.”
Incredibly, she added that we don’t know if the tests they’d previously recommended and considered absolutely essential to fighting the virus are even accurate. “We also don’t know that antigen tests give a good indication of transmissibility at this stage of infection. On the other hand, we know that after five days people are much less likely to transmit the virus and that masking further reduces that risk. And this is why people need to mask for five days after the five days of isolation.” It took an appearance on CNN for her to promptly explain that science has precisely nothing to do with it, at least not epidemiology. “From what you’re saying, it sounds like this decision had just as much to do with business as it did with the science,” CNN’s Kaitlan Collins said. “It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate,” Dr. Walensky replied, citing studies indicating a majority of Americans weren’t complying with the current 10-day regime. “And so we really want to make sure that we had guidance in this moment — where we were going to have a lot of disease — that could be adhered to, that people were willing to adhere to and that spoke specifically to when people were maximally infectious.” She even went so far as to add that “people need to get back to work.”
In other words, “we can’t let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” precisely as then-President Donald Trump used to say. Back then, however, this statement was a sign “he may be growing impatient with the dismal economic numbers that could threaten his reflection hopes in the fall,” according to The Hill on March 23, 2020. They continued, “The guidance, paired with Trump’s new tone, previews a looming clash between the president, who has tied his reelection bid closely to the strength of the economy, and public health experts who have insisted that social distancing measures and changes to daily life may drag on for weeks or months to avoid a soaring number of infections and deaths.” Barely a month later, news that Georgia was moving ahead with a partial reopening strategy while the disease continued to spread was described by The Atlantic as “an experiment in human sacrifice.” Today, they are claiming this is what the science says we should do, adding yet another reason to the near infinite list of why millions of rational people such as myself do not believe a single word these people say, convinced that even the punctuation marks are lies.
Nor does it help that these sudden, massive shifts aren’t the only ones occurring during this record surge. President Joe Biden had the long-delayed epiphany that the federal government can’t control the pandemic, telling governors last week “Look, there is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.” This statement was so dramatic that USA Today’s Louie Villalobos described it as “he finally threw his hands in the air and admitted it,” after “months of carrying on about a national plan and the need to follow guidelines and best practices.” It’s also despite claims from his Chief of Staff Ron Klain that we were only in such dire straits because Trump’s federal solution has failed. On June 24, 2020, he tweeted, “I’ve been saying since March that we can’t beat COVID with an ‘Articles of Confederation’ response. We have a national government for a reason. If Donald Trump won’t use it to beat this killer disease, I know someone who will, starting on 1/20/2021.” Apparently, President Joe Biden no longer believes testing is critical to beating coronavirus either. We learned last week that he turned down not one, but two offers to mass produce tests before the latest surge. Meaning, we could’ve been prepared and it’s his fault and his fault alone that we aren’t.
For its part, much of the media has opted to simply go along with this sudden shift, acting like it was completely normal to hold one President accountable for every death in the country, and the very next accountable for absolutely nothing. CNN’s resident propagandist Stephen Collinson proclaimed the “Biden administration signals pandemic strategy shift in the face of Omicron.” Yes, it’s just a slight shift in strategy “several weeks in the making,” you see, “preparing a nation exhausted by two years of battling the invisible enemy to live more feasibly alongside it.” Mr. Collinson wrote this as if no one in the entire country had ever considered strategies where we “live more feasibly alongside it,” and then proceeded to blame the virus itself for Biden’s failures. In that regard, the new strain of the virus is “forcing quick government course alterations.” Ultimately, he sees “the evolving administration approach is also one that could eventually point to a sustainable path back to something closer to normality for many Americans once the winter surge abates — a future in which Covid-19 will always be in the background and not eradicated.”
Note the curious lack of curiosity itself: Mr. Collinson never bothers to consider whether, dare I say it, politics could be involved in this sudden shift. Instead, Biden suddenly abandoning almost everything he ever said about the pandemic is purely for all of our benefit. In a subsequent “analysis,” Mr. Collinson goes one step further, accusing Republicans of playing politics and claiming there are “undeniably positive signs America is adapting,” because “paradoxically, Omicron’s surge of ubiquitous infection may contain within it seeds of hope.” The sudden rule changes are merely “recognition that society — and especially health care systems — could not function during the current wave with the older rules.” Thus, “There are undeniably positive signs of a country beginning to adapt to a new kind of life, where Covid-19, after the winter wave, may turn into sinister background music rather than a life-changing threat, at least in warmer months.” The only real challenge as he sees it now, “Biden has also been hampered by a relentless effort by Republicans to weaponize the pandemic for political gain.” This is perhaps more stunning than Biden’s sudden change of heart himself. The media’s chosen President has failed by almost every objective measure, the very measures he and the entire media politicized in their effort to oust President Trump, but now this is all actually positive, very positive stuff.
Mr. Collinson isn’t alone either. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes recently declared that Omicron might be akin to the flu, at least for vaccinated people, saying “The risk, the personal risk of being exposed to this, went from something we hadn’t really dealt specifically like this before in our lifetimes, we hadn’t quite had an illness this infectious and this possible to cause serious illness to something that does look more like the flu. Now the flu of course can still be dangerous, it kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, but we don’t reorient our lives around the flu.” Mr. Hayes says this without a hint of self-awareness: Conservatives were attacked, mercilessly just last year for any comparison between coronavirus and the flu, but now suddenly the largest case numbers ever recorded aren’t something we should “reorient our lives around.” He makes these claims less than a month after Biden himself warned of a “winter of illness and death,” and their precious public health experts are warning of a blizzard of infection with 44,000 deaths coming this month. “We know that over the next five to six weeks we’re going to continue to see transmission of this virus throughout this country, much like a viral blizzard,” explained Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “With that, we are going to see a perfect storm in our health care settings.”
At this point, it’s impossible to believe that this sudden change of heart is anything more than cynical politics and propaganda. There is no question that Biden has failed, in many ways far worse than his predecessor. Rather than acknowledge that failure, they immediately abandon many of their positions on the pandemic and inform us the latest “viral blizzard” is actually a good thing. Even worse, government experts are supposed to be non-partisan and neutral, making purely evidence based decisions for the benefit of the populace. People like myself have long since suspected that wasn’t actually the case, but now we have definitive proof they are just as corrupt as the media. Dr. Fauci never once mentioned anything resembling a cost-benefit analysis when Trump was in office, instead he pushed for the most restrictive, punitive measures imaginable, and was proud to do so. Now, in the face of numbers that dwarf anything we saw under former President Trump and the looming, monstrous death toll, he and his comrades at the alphabet soup of public health agencies, are saying the exact opposite. For anyone who cares about honesty, integrity, and fairness in the operations of our government, this is yet another reason why the Republicans need to retake Congress this year: Every single one of these people, from Fauci to Birx to Collins and all the rest, need to be fully investigated. Every email. Every conversation. Every single thing, thoroughly and without mercy. They lied, your job died, your child suffered, your family was subject to their every insane whim only to learn, hey, it’s no big deal after all. They all must be held accountable or this will surely happen again.
Please note: Nothing I have written should be mistaken for asserting that the conditions today are the same as they were at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Of course, we know a lot more now than we did then, and we have developed both vaccine and effective treatment options. This doesn’t entirely explain the sudden shift in strategy, however. There always should have been a balance between the costs of the mitigation measures and the benefits. There wasn’t. We were told questioning them was akin to committing murder, repeatedly. It’s this story that has completely changed.