If you don’t have your shots, you’re going to be very sick, and die. That’s the messagethe Biden administration is going with for omicron. President Biden is being advised by perhaps the worst messaging executive to ever haunt the West Wing since Billy Carter visited with a case of his self-branded beer.
Coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that those who are vaccinated “have done the right thing,” and the White House doesn’t want to disrupt their lives. For the rest, he preached hell.
For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.
Chief of Staff Ron Klain chipped in “the truth is the truth.” Except it’s not the truth.
This is literally (and I mean “literally” in the literal sense) the stuff of death cults. It’s also not the way to get people to do “the right thing.” Just a quick jaunt down “bad evangelism avenue” here. My oldest brother, the late Roy, bless his soul, became a Christian in the late 1970s in a family of Jews. His reaction to his newfound faith was to tell the rest of us that we’re all going to hell if we don’t embrace Jesus. Now, from a Christian perspective (being a follower of Jesus today), this is eminently true. But it’s a horrible way to get someone who isn’t buying what you’re selling to agree with you. For about 20 years, nobody in my family had much to do with Roy.
It’s a good idea to get vaccinated. Unless you have a valid medical reason (allergic to the vaccine, cardiomyopathy in a young person, etc.), there’s no logically consistent or valid excuse to avoid the jab. Whatever excuse the unvaccinated might hold on to it is their own personal choice, and mostly an irrational one. I am not for forcing people to get vaccinated, and certainly not threatening them.
But equally irrational is the popular front offered by the Biden administration, a willing mouthpiece in much of the American media. A “race against time.” Or the sub headline in the AJC: “Georgia braces for feared surge of COVID-19 cases in stretched hospitals.”
I previously noted that these media and government folks are conflating the delta variant’s virulence and death rate with omicron’s high case count. They are two different things. I believe this is done on purpose, disingenuously. The Hill noted New Hampshire’s “first resident under 18” death from “COVID-19-related complications.” But they buried the lede, that the death happened in September, before omicron.
Sarah Zhang, who writes for The Atlantic, penned a piece in Government Executive, which (believe me) is read by all the mucky-mucks in high GS and SES civil service jobs: “We Know Enough About Omicron to Know That We’re in Trouble.”
What seemed likely earlier this month is now quite certain: A big Omicron wave is coming, on top of an already substantial Delta wave. There are still some unknowns about the variant, such as exactly how severe these cases will be. But we know enough about Omicron to understand that the time to act is now. “If we wait until our hospitals look like they’re starting to fill,” says Lauren Ancel Meyers, the director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, “then it will be too late.”
Too late for what? I got news for you, Mr. or Ms. Government Executive: it’s already too late.
Omicron spreads much, much faster than delta or other COVID-19 variants. This we know from other countries like the U.K. and Denmark. We also know that even among less vaccinated populations, it doesn’t create a large wave of hospitalizations. This is reported a lot outside the U.S.
Prof Paddy Mallon, a consultant at St Vincent’s Hospital and professor of microbial diseases at UCD, said South Africa was reporting a “distinct disconnect” between daily cases numbers and deaths which was “reassuring.”
“There is a sense, talking to the South Africans, that the brunt of this pandemic is being felt in the community rather than in the hospitals. So, a lot of people are getting sick, but the brunt of it is falling on community services rather hospitals. Whether that will happen here remains to be seen.”
In addition, he said while there were “alarming” numbers of cases of the Omicron variant in Denmark – which has a similar population and vaccination rate to Ireland – this has not yet translated into very high hospitalisation rates.
“They are about a week ahead of us in terms of Omicron and, when you look at their numbers, they are alarming. The day before yesterday they had 11,000 cases… two weeks ago, they had about 7-8,000 cases a day.
“Normally, two weeks later, you expect that to translate into hospital admissions. Yesterday, they had an additional 15 hospitalisations,” he told the Brendan O’Connor Show on RTÉ radio.
London case counts are reported through the roof, but the lagged hospitalization counts are not showing up. Yes, there are some sick people, but not the massive Armageddon numbers being thrown around by the U.S. press and the Biden administration. According to Sky News:
Hospitalisations, which we usually expect to lag behind cases by about a week, have also started to rise.
But the good news is that the increase is not as steep as the rise in cases. The lines didn’t track each other exactly during other waves either, but they are further away now from one another than they ever have been.
If there are fewer hospitalisations per case that means either the virus itself is less severe or that we are better able to deal with it due to things like the vaccine. In terms of public health it doesn’t really matter which is true, it’s good news either way – we can tolerate more cases without overwhelming the NHS.
The Toronto Sun reported “Good news from the state of Denmark.”
Denmark’s Statnes Serum Institute looked at more than 143,000 cases between Nov. 22- Dec. 15 and found that people who contracted Omicron were nearly two-thirds less likely to end up in hospital. Just 0.5% of 18,941 Omicron-infected patients ended up in a hospital, compared to 1.4% of the 125,021 patients infected with other variants.
It’s true that in the U.S. omicron is running wild. It’s safe to say that most unvaccinated people who aren’t in extreme isolation will get it. Many vaccinated individuals will get it, and have no symptoms whatsoever. They will spread it widely. So what’s the Biden administration’s solution here? Massive testing, but no lockdowns.
First of all, these tests aren’t yet available, and omicron is spreading so fast, it’s going to create a logjam and lines of people wanting to get tested. Everyone is going to rush out to get tested if they’re exposed (and yes, they’ve been exposed). This is going to contribute to an atmosphere of fear, even among the vaccinated.
The at home tests that are available are selling out quickly. Pressed by reporters, President Biden admitted that his administration was “caught off guard” by omicron. This despite the fact that most epidemiologists, and historian John Barry, who wrote the 1996 bible on pandemics, agree that global viruses tend to mutate to a more transmissible form, and that ends up being more mild than the first waves. We should have been expecting omicron from the beginning, within a two year window of the first spread. And it’s here, but Biden’s team was caught off guard. C’mon man!
The Biden administration, advised by Ron Klain and Anthony Fauci, has been prophesying a death cult, and offering redemption to the vaccinated, reserving hell, sickness, death, and hardship for the unvaccinated. But the data from other countries indicates this doom will not happen. When the deaths and hospitalizations fail to materialize, nothing the White House says will be believed ever again.
If President Biden is reading this by some miracle, I’d advise him to be ready to fire Ron Klain and Anthony Fauci. At least Fauci has an excuse: he’s paid to never be wrong and to err on the side of extreme caution. Klain should know better than to set up Democrats and the White House as a cult of death and armageddon.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.
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