Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living near Aspen. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Daily COVID deaths and new cases are down to pre-pandemic levels in America. Even the CDC says masks are no longer required for vaccinated people. Heck, even school teachers are returning to the classrooms – sans masks – now that their demands for more money and less work have been met.
Weirdly, however, many people are still wearing masks. In fact, I often see mask wearers driving around alone in their cars. What’s up with that?
A little historical context is necessary. Dr. Fauci originally told us that masks were not effective. It turned out that he never really believed that. He was lying in order to conserve the masks for people he thought deserved them.
Then when masks became plentiful, the good doctor said they are effective after all and so we should wear them. He himself took to wearing two at a time, both over his mouth. I rather wish he’d worn half a dozen.
The Center for Disease Control announced in February that schools could safely reopen, and that it was “critical” that they do so. They said the risk of COVID transmission in schools was minimal — even if teachers were notvaccinated — and the damage to children by remaining closed was maximal.
Experience in the schools that have opened bears that out. There have not been cases of widespread transmission of COVID in reopened schools. That’s undoubtedly because children are nearly immune to COVID. And their teachers retire long before they reach the COVID-vulnerable post-65 age group.
That CDC announcement that teachers, vaccinated or not, should return to work was two months ago, though it didn’t get much media attention because teachers are overwhelmingly Democrats and so are the media. Since then, many teachers still refuse to return to work even though many have been vaccinated in the meantime.
The first vaccine against the Wuhan virus was developed by a German biotech company, BioNTech, in partnership with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
So why is the vaccination rate in Germany stuck at 4% while the American vaccination rate is now quadruple that? Throughout Europe, it’s much the same story. The vaccination rate is 4% in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy, and 5% in Finland, Greece, Poland and Norway.
Only the UK, now separate from the EU, is doing well with a vaccination rate of 27% after approving the vaccine weeks before the FDA did in the U.S. (with the same data that the FDA ultimately based its approval on, it should be noted).
Unsurprisingly, this dawdling on the Continent has an effect: death. While the death rates have come down from January’s peak wave, daily new cases and daily deaths in the EU remain stubbornly high. In contrast, in the UK where the vaccine is really rolling, daily new cases are down by three-quarters and daily deaths are down two-thirds.
The bulk of seniors who are at risk from COVID have either died of the disease, survived the disease or been vaccinated against the disease. New cases are dropping quickly.
Over ten percent of the overall American population has been vaccinated – over 40 million of them – and that figure is increasing at the rate of about 11 million a week. It looks like nearly everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by late spring. Meanwhile, drug treatments have proved increasingly effective. Most recently, the FDA approved a drug cocktail from Eli Lilly.
There will come a time when COVID masks are no longer necessary.
The implicit assumption in that statement is that masks were necessary before. The science is not clear in that regard, but it seems logical that they helped to some degree. The virus seems to be transmitted by airborne particles like microdroplets of sputum. The virus is far too small to be intercepted by a mask, but many of those microdroplets are not.
Regular Beatniks know that since last summer I’ve been enrolled in the clinical trials for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Because it’s a “blinded” study, I never really knew whether I’d received the vaccine or a placebo.
The clinic called me last week to tell me that Pfizer was unblinding the study for people in my demographic (translation: old farts) if we wished. Moreover, Pfizer was offering to administer the vaccine to those whom the unblinding revealed had received the placebo.
I accepted Pfizer’s offer. They then told me I’d received the placebo. I suspected as much based on the complete absence of any side effects, as well as the antibody test that I took a week after getting the injection which told me I had no COVID antibodies. (Getting the antibody test was not prohibited by the paperwork I signed.)
Pfizer then offered me the vaccine. I accepted their offer, and received the vaccine this morning.
Although they aren’t exactly scientists, the media said that COVID vaccines would take years or even decades to develop and test and that they would probably be only about 50-60% effective.
It’s not clear whether the media really believed their own dire predictions, or whether they were just rooting for the virus because they thought it hurt Trump and hurt America, both of which they like to see hurt. Although (or perhaps because) they’re not scientists and not very smart, they are Democrats after all.
In any event, the pharmaceutical industry proved them wrong. They developed new vaccines with new technology in a few months, then finished testing them in a few more months. The effectiveness is about 95%.
Expect media reports that in the 5% of the population where the vaccine seems not to work, it’s all Trump’s fault. The headline will read something like, “Although impeached and out of office, Trump is still killing people.”
Now that the scientists, physicians and businessmen at pharmaceutical companies have performed scientific, medical and business miracles, we can conquer the pandemic and get back to watching proper football in sports bars by simply taking the vaccine. Right?
No, not right. Because the simple distribution of the vaccines wound up the responsibility of the people who brought you the Obamacare website and VA Hospitals.
The first act in their comedy of errors was to suggest that the first people to get the vaccine should not be the people over 70 who are dying, but the people who have the darkest skin. Because social justice.
Imagine the vaccination center. Would they have a light meter to measure a person’s pigmentation, or would they just take the person’s word for it? What if they were white, color-wise, but identified as very black, at least on that day?
Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, but probably just carelessly, the effect of this scheme would be more deaths among both older whites and older blacks because the vaccine supplies would be used instead on not-at-risk younger blacks.
But no matter. The point was not to reduce white deaths or even black deaths. It was to feel very, very woke. After a suitable outcry from doctors – the kind with patients, not the kind jockeying for government grants – the government quietly backed off that racist plan.
The FDA finally approved the vaccine in mid-December. That was weeks after Great Britain already had. In the interim, another ten thousand died. The government boasted that we’d get 20 million doses administered by the end of the year. As it turned out, they administered only about 10% of that.
Happy New Year!
What happened? Intra-governmental squabbling between the bureaucratic Center for Disease Control and military brass heading up Operation Warp Speed (why military brass for that task?) consumed months. Eventually, they decided that the vaccinations should proceed in phases.
Fine. But they decided that we cannot go onto a new phase until the prior phase is finished. They never specified what “finished” means. Does it mean 100.00% of the people in the prior phase have been injected? What if less than 100.00% of those people actually want to be injected? Is 90% enough? Or 70%?
They never said. Meanwhile, millions of vaccine does were, and are, sitting in freezers while people continue dying at the rate of about 4,000 a day.
The vaccines are administered in two shots about three weeks apart. The government decided they couldn’t proceed to a new phase until they had in-hand enough of the vaccine to administer the second shot to people who’d gotten the first shot in the prior phase.
But the pharmaceutical companies had already told the government that their manufacturing capabilities are sufficient to manufacture those second shots on-the-fly. The government didn’t need to keep the second shots on ice. But the government did anyway, and still more people died.
Moreover, the data indicates that just a first shot is highly efficacious, so if somehow a person doesn’t get his second shot he’s very likely protected anyway. No matter, the government insisted on reserving a second shot for a person who’d taken the first shot rather than administering it as the first shot to another patient. Meanwhile, thousands more died.
Finally, the government relented and decided to administer that shot to new patients rather than reserving it to be the second shot for earlier patients.
This Keystone Kops routine has literally cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives. More Americans have now died of COVID than American soldiers died in WWII. But the government types don’t care because as “essential workers” they personally have gotten the vaccine.
Call me cynical, but are these lazy, selfish and inept government types the people we want running the health care system? Or anything else?
Pfizer has sold $25 billion worth of Viagra and now they’ve raised the bar even higher. To keep their Viagra customers happy, healthy and horny, they invented a vaccine against COVID.
The FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use this month, years after approving Viagra for “emergency” use (isn’t all use of Viagra an emergency?). Viagra will of course retain its preeminence in the company, and so the vaccine will likely become known as “Pfizer’s Other Drug.”
Some say this medicine comes too soon, that it needs more testing, more time to get acquainted, more foreplay, more cuddling. I say baloney. Viagra comes not a moment too soon. Same with Pfizer’s Other Drug. If only they had come at the same time.
It was indeed a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of year. It’s with proper social distancing, mind you, which can cramp one’s style among other things and attenuate both the whams and the bams. But in sex, Americans and all other people are resourceful.
Sadly, however, there appears not to be the pregnancy surge we often see after a city blackout. Although sperm are ingenious in navigating their way through the kind of person who identifies as a woman because she is one, they cannot navigate across a room or through a Zoom teleconference lens.