- Vaccinated America is learning how to live with mostly mild flare-ups of the Covid-19 virus.
- Unvaccinated people who don’t watch or believe the news is putting the vaccinated majority at risk.
It’s all occurring from Fox to CNN, The New York Times to The Los Angeles Times. It’s also happening on two tracks at the same time. Vaccinated America is learning how to live with mostly mild flare-ups of the Covid-19 virus, reports CNN.
Unvaccinated Americans are dealing with the death and misery that comes with refusing vaccine protection. And it feels like two languages are being spoken without a trustworthy translation in places where the two Americas collide, such as schools, retail malls, cookouts, and county fairs.
What are we willing to accept?
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta said that he spent the weekend talking with experts about the state of the pandemic, and “invariably, the conversation goes to this: Are we in this endemic phase? And many scientists believe we are probably there, in the sense that this virus is here to stay.” So, he said, the question becomes, “what are we willing to accept?” Annual deaths that are comparable to the flu? A higher total? Or a lower total? “We know it’s within our power to bring those numbers dramatically down with vaccines and masks and stuff like that,” he said. Yet right now, “less than half the country gets a flu shot every year.”
Later in the day, Fox’s Dr. Nicole Saphier made a similar point. “it’s possible Covid-19 may be the next flu, where we’re going to just be living with this.” she added of the virus becoming endemic. However, she noted, we must maximize immunizations and manage risks to avoid overcrowding in hospitals.
Definition of “success.”
Insider published a striking headline earlier this week: “The US Surgeon General says we’re thinking about the end of the pandemic in the wrong way.” The site was picking up on something that Dr. Vivek Murthy said to Politico’s Joanne Kenen.
Notably, new Gallup polling finds that the CDC is once again underwater on communication: “Just 32% of people agreed that the CDC has communicated a clear plan of action in response to Covid-19.” In comparison, 41% disagreed, CNN’s Virginia Langmaid reported.
As for Biden, “Gallup says 40% agree Biden has communicated a clear plan of action, and 42% disagree.” Biden is slated to deliver another speech about Covid on Thursday. Can he improve his numbers? Axios said it well in a headline last week: The United States “needs a Covid goal.” So can Biden articulate an endgame? Can he outline a goal? Maybe if David Leonhardt were writing the speech…
Leonhardt’s reality check
Several Biden White House aides praised Leonhardt’s most recent NYT. In his morning newsletter, Leonhardt reassured readers that Covid infections are sporadic among the vaxxed. “Covid mimics the flu for those who have been vaccinated, and it is usually the mild flu,” he noted. “The flu does not bring society to a halt.” But “Covid anxiety” is at a much higher level, he added, “especially in communities that lean to the left politically.” That’s why NYT readers really need to absorb what he wrote: That “the Covid risks for most vaccinated people are of the same order of magnitude as risks that people unthinkingly accept every day, like riding in a vehicle.”
Glass half full
New CDC data on Tuesday showed that 75% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Let’s shout that percentage from the rooftops! Three in four adults have done the right thing…
Glass half empty
“I’m not sure how much it’s penetrated US news coverage that America is now thoroughly mediocre in its vaccination rate compared to most of Western Europe and Scandinavia,” Vox health care reporter Dylan Scott observed, showing the US far down a list of fully vaccinated populations…
An essential point
The Atlantic’s Elizabeth Bruenig is out with a “Stop Death Shaming” piece that reflects this point. She called up one of her uncles, who is still thinking about getting vaxxed, who says he’s concerned about the “long-term effects” of the vaccines. She asked about his media consumption, and he said, “I’ll be honest, I don’t watch a lot of the news because stuff like that, you’re almost — you’re almost ashamed if you don’t have it.” Meaning, if you’re not vaccinated. “If you don’t get the vaccine, you’re killing people,” he said, paraphrasing the new coverage. “And so I don’t watch a lot of it.”
Bruenig’s takeaway is essential: “The articles about all the unvaccinated dead aren’t persuading him; they’re not even reaching him.”
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