2022-01-01 18:43:10 UTC
The Covid Insanity Has to End
By ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
January 1, 2022 6:30 AM
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People wait in line to receive free rapid at-home Covid testing kits at
a vaccination clinic run by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
in Philadelphia, Pa., December, 21 2021. (Hannah Beier/Reuters)
Trying to strong-arm reluctant people into compliance with increasingly
irrational protocols is not working.
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The illogic of the Pandemic Reign of Error is long past the point of too
much to bear.
As Covid infections have surged beyond control — breaking through
vaccines and boosters — the CDC now says that we have to reduce the
number of isolation days for people who test positive for the virus but
are basically asymptomatic. Our Phil Klein has elaborated on the
arbitrariness of it all. Naturally, leave it to our Janus-faced
megalomaniac, Dr. Anthony L’Science C’est Moi Fauci, to supply the
risible rationalization du jour: “If you are asymptomatic and you are
infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, especially those with
If we were dealing with a real plague, the insanity of this would be so
obvious even the media-Democrat complex would not be able to speak of it
With an infectious disease that posed a serious threat of lethality to
the average person, a credible positive test would call for isolation
until the person was certifiably cleared of infection. Here, by
contrast, the government is now saying that the certifiably infected
need to get back into the general population faster. This, even though
the government (a) insists on treating non-vaccinated people as if they
were lepers (including those who have had Covid, even though their
natural immunity makes their risk comparable to that of vaccinated
people); and (b) has been coercing even people who are “fully”
vaccinated (whatever that means from moment to moment) to mask up and
take other precautions because being vaccinated and asymptomatic is no
guarantee against transmitting the virus.
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We’ve lost our minds.
Just to be clear on where I’m coming from, I am enthusiastically
pro-vaccination. I got the jab as soon as it was available to me, and
was boosted weeks ago. I’ve insisted that family members whom I’m either
responsible for or have influence over do likewise. I lost family and
friends in the early months of the epidemic. I would like to prevent
everyone from getting Covid, even in what early reports indicate is the
milder new Omicron iteration, and even though our wondrously evolved
world of vaccines and improved therapeutics makes the chance of death or
serious illness vanishingly small.
Then again, I’d similarly like to prevent everyone from catching the
scourges of viral rhinitis (also known as the common cold) and
influenza. But I don’t want to prevent that outcome, an inevitable one
for all of us at some point(s), nearly as much as I want us to live in a
free society. By nature, liberty entails risks, an enormous number of
which are more perilous than Covid. Freedom is America’s foundation, but
it necessarily involves no small amount of annoyances and
inconveniences, aches and pains, large and small. A risk-free society is
stifled and inert. It is no society at all.
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Following a pattern of viral mutation that Jim Geraghty explained a
year-and-a-half ago, Covid appears to become less lethal as it becomes
more transmissible. (To be sure, it is still too early for settled
conclusions, opinions vary — see, e.g., here and here — and the CDC is
characteristically confused about whether we’re in the onset of Omicron,
the depths of Delta, or both.) The virus is now spreading like the
common cold and seasonal flu, with both of which we long ago learned to
live. For the former, there is no cure but many well-known mitigation
strategies. For the latter, which Mario Loyola fittingly described in
our pages as a relatively “prolific killer,” we have perennially
adjusted vaccines that are no guarantee against infection but reduce its
likelihood and ameliorate most cases.
People who roll the dice, ignoring precautions against cold and failing
to get a flu shot, sometimes escape unscathed and sometimes get bad
cases. The number of them who get seriously sick is small, and the
number who die is negligible. For the most part, moreover, their
ignorance or negligence is a threat to themselves, not to the rest of us
— or at least not much of a threat, and not nearly enough of one to
justify jamming the gears of a free society.
Covid fits this pattern. It is impossible to calculate a perfectly
accurate mortality risk since there are many more infections than
reported cases (including more deaths attributable to Covid than deaths
reported as such). But even if we grossly inflated the death rate by
using reported cases as a crude metric, it would still be just 1.4
percent (about 801,000 deaths out of about 55.5 million cases); and the
real risk varies widely — almost none for those under 30, much higher
for the elderly and those with comorbidities.
Elected officials and bureaucrats are well aware of this; they just
don’t want to say it aloud. But in the places where they figure you
won’t look and where the media won’t report, they make admissions they
hope you’ll never hear about. So it is with the Justice Department,
which is laboring to defend President Biden’s indefensible vaccine
mandate — issued on a purported “emergency” basis by the Occupational
Security and Health Administration two years after the pandemic began
and one year after vaccines were developed . . . though before the
president suddenly conceded on Monday that there is no federal solution
to the virus, which he now regards as principally a matter of state
Based on the government’s own data, crunched by the CDC, Justice
Department lawyers have acknowledged to the federal appellate courts
that unvaccinated workers between the ages of 18 and 29 bear a risk
roughly equivalent to that posed to vaccinated persons between 50 and
64. Yet the Biden administration — the same administration that
venerates abortion as a private health-care matter to be weighed by a
woman (or “birthing person”) and her doctor free of government
interference — is hell-bent on extorting the young to get vaccinated, on
pain of lost livelihood and pariah status.
That is beyond absurd. It’s tyrannical.
It is not that the vaccines are ineffective. They are great. Still, like
anything else that is defamed and overhyped, as the Left has done to the
vaccines (first talking them down as unreliable because they were
developed under the Trump administration, then talking them up as the
silver bullet that would empower Biden to make good on his vow to “shut
down the virus”), they are not quite as advertised. They are settling
into what they will be in a future era of endemic Covid (an era that is
already under way): an invaluable mitigation tool for an infectious
virus that, like the flu, we must learn to live with and manage.
It is high time that we, too, live with and manage Covid, just as we do
with the rest of life’s tribulations. Things that are a spot of bother
the vast majority of the time but tragically lethal in outlier cases.
Conditions that are nuisances for most of us but mortally threaten a few
of us who have underlying conditions — threats that, fortunately, we
learn more about, and about how to treat, every day.
Having finally discovered federalism, perhaps President Biden could take
the next step and discover liberty. If he did, he’d accomplish more of
what he wants — higher vaccination rates and lower incidence of serious
illness and death, fewer disruptions and better economic performance —
by trusting Americans to care for themselves. Trying to strong-arm
reluctant people into compliance with increasingly irrational protocols
is not working on them, and it is strangling all of us.
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