Friday, April 16, 2021


Dr. Anthony Fauci had tense exchanges with Jim Jordan on Wednesday:
Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan got into a shouting match at a Wednesday hearing of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus where he repeatedly asked National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci when Americans will “get their freedoms back.”

“Fifteen days to slow the spread turned into one year of lost liberty,” Jordan said before asking Fauci: “What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms?”

After Fauci told him that precautions to prevent spreading he virus can be lifted after the nation vaccinates as many people as soon as it can and infections decrease, Jordan again demanded “What measure, what standard, what objective outcome, do we have to reach before before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?” He declared “First Amendment rights,” and rights to attend church, petition one’s government, freedom of the press and freedom of speech have “all been assaulted.”
Fauci noted, correctly, that infections are still high and we still need to vaccinate a lot of people. He didn't provide "metrics." That infuriated Jordan.

The right-wing rank-and-file may still believe that the pandemic is a hoax, but right-wing politicians and pundits have shifted their rhetoric: Okay, the pandemic is real, but it's over now. The vaccines work. Why can't we spike the football on the 20-yard line and call it a touchdown?

Here's National Review's Jim Geraghty:
... 80 percent of people over the age of 65 who live in the United States have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the CDC, and 64 percent of seniors are fully vaccinated.

... out of 66 million people who completed their vaccinations and waited at least two weeks, just 5,800 got COVID-19.

There’s been a slight increase in cases and hospitalizations in the past two weeks nationally, but the number of deaths has declined 19 percent in the past two weeks. Deaths should continue to decline; a majority of the most vulnerable among us are now protected.

... But you can tell within the ranks of public health experts, government officials, and a lot of media voices there is a widespread and surprisingly steadfast resistance against saying “we’re winning,” or “the crisis is ending,” or “the pandemic is winding down.”

... Government officials are reluctant to declare good news, because this would mean giving up some of the far-reaching powers they’ve gained during the crisis.... And some journalists don’t want to acknowledge good news because a sense of crisis is good for ratings, traffic, and readership.
Yes, it's all a plot. Even the respectable, allegedly non-conspiratorial National Review believes that liberals in government want to maintain pandemic restrictions for the sheer joy of it, and for the power. The press, apparently, has nothing else to write about -- police shootings, mass shootings, Biden vs. the GOP and Democratic moderates, Donald Trump's stirrings in Florida, none of it draws eyeballs like COVID, according to Geraghty. We'll continue masking and distancing just to prop up The New York Times and CNN, I guess.

At Townhall, Guy Benson is making similar points:
Let's start with the astoundingly great news: The vaccines work, and they're spectacular. We've known this for quite some time, of course, with thorough trials producing exceptionally strong results -- which have stood up among a much wider population in nearly-fully-vaxxed Israel. Cases in that country have plummeted by a staggering and heartening 98 percent since a peak in January....

Based on CDC data, more than 66 million Americans have been fully vaccinated (the total number has now swelled by 10 million). Among those people, just a few thousand experienced 'breakthrough' infections. And only a few dozen have died from the virus.... This is how the pandemic ends, period.

... The lesson of a 0.008 percent breakthrough case rate, with a lopsided number of those cases being mild, is not that "even vaccinated people are still at risk" and should still wear masks and socially distance. The lesson is the opposite. Vaccinated people are safe and can resume their normal lives.
Israel really does appear to have crushed the curve. But although the U.S. is vaccinating at a fast pace, we still don't have Israel's vaccination numbers. Also, Israel had a third lockdown from late December to early February. Only now is it lifting restrictions on going maskless outdoors. And one of the keys to Israel's reopening is its Green Pass vaccine passport.

None of this -- the recent lockdowns, the ongoing (if greatly relaxed) restrictions, the passport -- qualifies as "freedom" by Jordan's, Geraghty's, and Benson's standards. They want 100% normal life, now now now. But they don't want to do what it takes to get there.

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