We were right and Anthony Fauci was wrong. The person I never expected to hear say this, however, was Anthony Fauci.
Fauci finally admitted to the nation this weekend what has been obvious to everyone, except the most hysteria-prone slice of the population, since last summer: that the pandemic is now endemic. That means it’s here to stay, no matter what we do, so let’s learn to live with it. There is no point to the insane restrictions people insist on like latter-day Puritans denouncing each other for failing to carry out the prescribed rites to ward off the Devil.
“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”
Great! But what has changed? This is exactly the message Fauci needed to deliver to the people . . . approximately a year ago.
Let’s talk next steps. What’s he going to do to make up for all of the needless misery he caused? I’m not asking him to think like his fellow Italian Marc Antony and fall on his sword, so let’s turn our minds to the moderate and reasonable options. How many days is Fauci volunteering to place himself in stocks set up on the National Mall so that we can all pelt him with rotten eggs? One day for every completely wrong thing he ever said would be fair, but then he’d be there all summer. So let’s be charitable and just make it a long holiday weekend.
The nation’s 4-year-olds should be allowed to get to the front of the line, if any of them can squeeze in some time between appointments with all of the speech pathologists and psychotherapists they need because of Fauci’s insane policies.
“We’re at that point where, in many respects, that we’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” Fauci also said Sunday.
Now you’re earning that $400,000 a year, Captain Obvious.
COVID doves such as Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of San Francisco, saw all of this coming: wearing a rag over your face wasn’t going to stop an incredibly transmissible virus.
“We’re going to get it,” she predicted last September. “Unless you just sit in your room, you’re going to get it in your nose. But at least in this country, it will be manageable.”
“The emergency phase of the disease is over,” Stanford professor and health economist Jay Bhattacharya said last summer. “Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency . . . panicking over case numbers is a recipe for continuing unwarranted panic,” because the vaccines provide superb protection against death or hospitalization.
Yet as recently as November, Fauci said, preposterously, that he was going to put off calling the virus endemic until we got the thing cornered: “We want control and I think the confusion is at what level of control are you going to accept it in its endemicity.”
Huh? Asserting “control” has nothing to do with “accepting its endemicity.” When you do the latter, you’re acknowledging the former isn’t possible. COVID is not subtle: ever since we learned in the middle of last year that even vaccinated people can catch it and spread it, it has been flashing a message as unmissable as the American Eagle signage in Times Square: “You can’t control me, bro. I’m coming for everybody. Get vaccinated and you’ll live.”
You may have missed it, but Fauci said something even stupider than “We gotta control this thing before we admit it’s endemic” in the November interview: that we shouldn’t get too excited about the distinction between such COVID outcomes as “getting killed” and “missing a day of work.”
Why did he say something so absurd? Because he’s Larry Lockdown and loves to create confusion and panic. Like another blustering egomaniac, the guy he used to work for, he can’t handle the idea of an America in which everyone isn’t talking about him all the time. In post-COVID America, guess who doesn’t get invited on Colbert and Kimmel and Meet the Press every week?
“I think we better be careful to not make too sharp a distinction between protecting against infection that’s symptomatic versus protection against hospitalization and deaths,” Fauci said in November. “I don’t know of any other vaccine that we only worry about keeping people out of the hospital. I think an important thing is to prevent people from getting symptomatic disease.”
By that reasoning, a head cold and stage-four lymphoma are the same thing. Ladies, and gentlemen, America’s doctor!
Fauci couldn’t grasp that the virus is two different animals depending on whether you’re vaccinated: A jab turns a venomous 100-foot dragon into an ill-tempered dog. For vaccinated and boosted Americans, you are at much higher risk of dying in a car accident than from the virus, yet people choose not to fear the Corolla the way they fear the Corona.
“Get vaccinated, then get on with your life,” should have been Fauci’s message from the start, except for small children, who were never at great risk in the first place and should therefore never have had to deal with idiotic restrictions such as mask mandates.
Vaccinated children are as well protected as vaccinated adults, and yet we continue to torture little kids by making them wear masks in day care, in schools, and on mass transit.
Economist Emily Oster wrote in the Atlantic, “Based on the science, the kids-last approach makes no sense. Kids should face fewer restrictions than their parents, not more.”
COVID apartheid has been bad policy for many months. Why segregate, shame and insult those nasty unvaccinated people and force masks onto wriggling toddlers if a) these folks posed very little risk to the vaxxed and b) the vaxxed were passing it among ourselves the whole time?
We’ve seen a hilarious celebrity demonstration of the uselessness of non-pharmaceutical approaches to COVID in the past couple of weeks, when the Bubble Boys and Girls who did the most to try to seal themselves off from the virus — the D.C. political establishment and the Broadway community — all came down with it anyway.
D.C.’s Gridiron Dinner turned out to be a superspreader event that has led to dozens of new infections, and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff have all tested positive for the virus. Jen Psaki has had it twice. Eric Adams, a guy who sometimes wears a mask even outdoors, caught it.
Meanwhile, on Broadway, which is to masks what Linus is to his security blanket, and which requires virtually everyone in the building to show proof of vaccination before entering, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daniel Craig all came down with COVID anyway. Their shows, and the musical “Paradise Square,” shut down. If Broadway COVID is as hot as tickets to “The Music Man,” that’s a pretty strong indicator that you can’t shut it out from even a sheltered sub-subculture.
Evidence suggests cloth masks do nothing to prevent the virus from spreading anyway. And we knew that before the even more transmissible Omicron and BA.2 variants emerged. Which is why Dr. Leana Wen, the CNN talking head who represents conventional Democratic Party medical thinking, famously let slip that “cloth masks are little more than facial decorations” last Christmas.
Her goal was to make people double (or triple, or quadruple) down on masks. “No thanks,” said most of us.
David Leonhardt, a progressive New York Times columnist who likes the idea of masking, noted with dismay last month, that, although masking, school closures and fear of gatherings are far more widespread in blue America, “Nationwide, the number of official COVID cases has recently been somewhat higher in heavily Democratic areas than Republican areas.”
Oh? Leonhardt insists such precautions work but concedes “the lack of a clear pattern” — i.e., evidence.
Even if non-pharmaceutical interventions did work, we’d still need to subject them to the same cost-benefit analysis as any other policy. Somehow, though, millions listened to whatever Saint Fauci said as though he had come down from Mount Bureaucrat with all of this ideas carved on stone tablets. Blue America resolved to do whatever he said, “even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff,” as Ned Flanders might put it.
States that went full Fauci imposed pointless suffering on their residents: kids missed school and fell prey to depression and crippling developmental problems, adults lost jobs and lives to suicide, alcohol and opioids.
A study published this week that attempted to measure the overall health of states found that the three worst-performing ones were New Jersey, Washington D.C. (which was treated as a state for the purposes of the study) and New York. The top performers — Utah, Nebraska and Vermont — were run by non-panicky Republicans. Florida was sixth best, and despite its having ditched most restrictions very early, the state’s age-adjusted death rate is tied with Connecticut at 21st best.
Don’t expect to hear any apologies from anyone about anything, though. Hey, you guys have Zoom and Netflix, why complain about how the Faucians drove tens of thousands of people into deaths of despair and ruined a few million childhoods?
Sure, they may have destroyed people, but it was out of an abundance of caution.
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