Patterico's Pontifications

5/17/2021

Can We Just Be Done With This Pandemic Already?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In Covid vaccine news, the U.S. will be sending vaccines to other parts of the world:

President Joe Biden plans to send an additional 20 million doses of U.S. coronavirus vaccines abroad by the end of June — including, for the first time, shots authorized for domestic use, where supply is beginning to outstrip demand.

Biden will announce Monday that he’ll export 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries, according to a senior administration official familiar with the plan.

The official, who asked not to be identified ahead of planned remarks from the president, stressed that the measures are only a first step as the U.S. pivots its attention to quelling the pandemic abroad. Biden has previously pledged that the U.S. would soon become an “arsenal” of global vaccine supply.

The administration has not identified which countries will be receiving the shipments.

Here is where the U.S. currently stands with regard to those vaccinated:

Untitled

Meanwhile, in spite of the CDC’s new guidelines released last week, it appears that mask-wearing is the new norm for some people, even those fully vaccinated:

More than 500 USA TODAY readers shared their thoughts on whether the mask policy changes would change their shopping habits with approximately 80% self-reporting as fully vaccinated. Many said they plan to keep wearing masks while others who self-reported as unvaccinated said they would not wear masks or get the vaccine.

More on the vaccinated who choose to continue wearing their masks:

Even as a combination of evolving public health recommendations and pandemic fatigue lead more Americans to toss the masks they’ve worn for more than a year, Mr. Glickman is among those who say they plan to keep their faces covered in public indefinitely.

For people like Mr. Glickman, a combination of anxiety, murky information about new virus variants and the emergence of an obdurate and sizable faction of vaccine holdouts means mask-free life is on hold — possibly forever.

“I have no problem being one of the only people,” said Mr. Glickman, a professional photographer and musician from Albany, N.Y. “But I don’t think I’m going to be the only one.”

[M]asks have emerged as a dystopian political flash point during the pandemic. A map of states that enforced mask mandates corresponds closely with how people in those states voted for president.

But as more Americans become vaccinated and virus restrictions loosen, masks are at the center of a second round in the country’s culture brawl. This time, people who choose to continue to cover their faces have become targets of public ire.

In interviews, vaccinated people who continue to wear masks said they are increasingly under pressure, especially in recent days; friends and family have urged them to relax, or even have suggested that they are paranoid.

But for some people, no newfound freedom will persuade them to reveal their faces just yet. After a year, they say they have grown accustomed to the masks and glad for the extra safety they provide.

…“I’m in no hurry; why should I be in a hurry?” said Mr. Jones, who became fully vaccinated about a month and a half ago. Until New York City reaches a higher level of vaccination — just 40 percent are completely vaccinated — he believes it’s too risky to unmask. “Being around is more important. That’s what counts. I’m an old man — I’d like to be around as long as I can.”

Public health data shows that masking and social distancing have most likely had far-reaching positive impacts, beyond slowing the spread of Covid-19. While over 34,000 adults died from influenza in the 2018-19 season, this year deaths are on track to remain in the hundreds, according to C.D.C. data. Mask wearers say their seasonal allergy symptoms seem to be lessened.

Leni Cohen, 51, a retired kindergarten teacher from New York City who has a compromised immune system, said she planned to continue wearing a mask …“Kindergartners, while adorable, are quick to share their secretions…”

Barry J. Neely, 41, a composer from Los Angeles, fell ill with the coronavirus in March 2020 and battled symptoms for months. He has also struggled with guilt over whether he had inadvertently infected people he came in contact with before his diagnosis — which came at a time when the government discouraged mask use.

He now plans to wear a mask whenever he feels under the weather, in perpetuity.

For a number of so-called perma-maskers, the decision is informed by trauma: They endured the coronavirus or witnessed loved ones die, and they say taking off their mask makes them feel terrifyingly vulnerable.

After contracting the coronavirus, Mr. Glickman fell ill with pneumonia. He still experiences gastrointestinal problems and neurological symptoms, including extreme lightheadedness and problems with his sight. “Floaters” swim in his field of vision, and on one occasion, he said, everything turned yellow.

Post-coronavirus trauma appears to be common: A survey of nearly 400 Covid patients by doctors at Agostino Gemelli hospital in Italy showed 30 percent developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a severe illness.

“There is an element of precaution that is brought on by the emotional and psychological impact with what I went through,” Mr. Glickman said of his masking. “I don’t think it is necessarily unjustified. I think it is somewhere in the middle.”

“As a woman, we feel like we have to, when we go out in public, put on a little bit of makeup, eyeliner, blush,” said Keela Samis, 57, an attorney from St. Petersburg, Fla., who is vaccinated and does not plan to stop wearing a mask. “With a mask I don’t have to. It simplified my life.”

Ms. Samis added: “Even if I’m the only person on planet Earth that continues to wear the mask, if that’s what makes me feel comfortable, I’ll wear the mask.”

Whether you feel the need to continue wearing a mask after being fully vaccinated or not, maybe not harass anyone for their personal decision that is none of your business because it doesn’t impact you in any way. The person choosing to wear a mask isn’t putting you at risk by potentially infecting you with a virus. It’s a personal decision, and as we see in the linked report, there are a variety of reasons why a fully vaccinated person may keep wearing a mask. Pre-vaccine the harassment was “Why are you wearing a mask?” and now, as we’re in the midst of vaccines, the harassment remains “Why are you wearing a mask?”. In my experience, it’s the same group of people doing the harassment.

Just get vaccinated already.

–Dana

Is There Still A Battle For The Soul Of The Republican Party Happening Or Is The Fight Over?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:16 am



[guest post by Dana]

In which Charlie Sykes tries to convince a group of former Republican officials giving the Republican Party one last chance to clean up its act that it’s hopeless. Time to move on:

[T]he Washington Post oped argued that: “With Cheney’s dismissal from House leadership, the battle for the soul of the Republican Party — and our country — is not over. It is just beginning.”

But that’s not true. The fight is over. The crackpots, conspiracists and bigots have won, and there is no point pretending that this is a party that can be salvaged anytime soon. As Jeff Greenfield notes in Politico, there is no civil war in the Republican Party — there is only a “purge.”

The group seemed to acknowledge that when they promised that “We will not wait forever for the GOP to clean up its act.”

But, what are they waiting for now?

How many signs do they need? How many canaries have to die? How many red lines have to be crossed?

How many signs do they need? How many canaries have to die? How many red lines have to be crossed?

This is a party that remains in total thrall not just to Donald Trump, but to his lies as well. A recent poll found that fully 70 percent of Republican voters refuse to believe that Joe Biden won enough votes to be president. A Monmouth poll found 65 percent of GOP voters believe that Biden’s win was the result of voter fraud.

In this party, men and women like Matt Gaetz, Josh Hawley, Green, Ted Cruz, Gosar, Ron Johnson, and Clyde all members in good standing. But Liz Cheney, who insisted on telling the truth, is exiled.

What clearer signal could my fellow signatories be waiting for? The vote to oust Cheney was as clear as it gets: We are no longer welcome in the GOP.

Over the last five years, Republicans have shown willingness to accept — or least ignore — lies, racism, corruption, sexism and xenophobia.

It was Donald Trump’s party then — but now it is worse. Now it is a party increasingly willing to embrace sedition, conspiracies, anti-democratic authoritarianism and the Big Lie.

Letting go is hard, but it’s time say goodbye. Even if it means that some of us will find ourselves in the political wilderness.

To which I respond: it’s really not that bad being in the political wilderness. I mean, realistically, what are the options? And it doesn’t appear that Trump is going to be riding off into the sunset anytime soon. To the contrary:

Former President Trump is expected to resume his signature rallies in June, an adviser confirmed, the latest sign of him becoming increasingly visible and ramping up political activity since leaving office in January.

The Daily Mail first reported on tentative plans for the rallies, which are expected to include two appearances in June and one at the beginning of July. The events are likely to be similar to the airport rallies that Trump held last year as he campaigned for reelection during the coronavirus pandemic. The events have not been formally announced.

Perhaps checking which way the political winds are blowing. 2024, anyone?

And yesterday, the former president, who can’t let go of the past and keeps on talking about it, wrote:

Breaking News! New polling by CBS News on the state of the Republican Party (which is very strong!). “President Trump has a strong hold on the GOP.” 80% of Republicans agree with the removal of Liz Cheney from GOP Leadership and only 20% disagree. The poll also showed that 67% of Republicans said that they do not consider Sleepy Joe Biden to be the legitimate winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. I agree with them 100%, just look at the facts and the data—there is no way he won the 2020 Presidential Election!

As Rep. Adam Kinzinger said: I would love to move on [from Donald Trump] but…:

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kinzinger was asked by host Chuck Todd to explain his reasoning that the GOP could not embrace Trump and his election claims.

“Well it’s two things. Number one, Trump set the table. He’s the one that continually brings up a stolen election narrative. He’s the one that has convinced, members of Congress, including what we saw a few days ago, to have a hearing on January 6th and claimed that this was nothing but a tourist group, or that it was hugs and kisses,” Kinzinger said.

“You cannot on the one hand say that Donald Trump is a leader or the leader of the Republican Party — which I believe he is the leader of the Republican Party right now because Kevin McCarthy gave him his leadership card. You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on. I would love to move on, Chuck,” Kinzinger added.

Pre-emptive strike: I know that some commenters think that by posting about Trump, it’s me that can’t stop looking back. After all, he is no longer the president, so why focus on him at all? I do because I believe that he remains an influential and powerful threat to our Republic. In his transition to the head of the Republican Party, he has destroyed a political party to which I once belonged. I have watched its transformation into a twisted version of its former self. Too many elected Republicans are now willing to parrot the new party line lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and that he had no involvement in the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. This has become today’s Republican Party’s litmus test. What happens to the GOP matters. To one degree or another, everyone will be impacted by the Republican Party’s transformation into the Trump Party. This especially if he enters the next presidential race.

–Dana


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