Apparently, Our Leaders Have Been Inoculated Against Good News

POLITICS & POLICY
Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the COVID-19 response on Capitol Hill, March 18, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool via Reuters)

There is, if you’re looking for it, an abundance of good news in our fight against COVID-19.

As John mentioned, 80 percent of people over the age of 65 who live in the United States have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the CDC, and 64 percent of seniors are fully vaccinated.

As Phil mentioned, out of 66 million people who completed their vaccinations and waited at least two weeks, just 5,800 got COVID-19.

There’s been a slight increase in cases and hospitalizations in the past two weeks nationally, but the number of deaths has declined 19 percent in the past two weeks. Deaths should continue to decline; a majority of the most vulnerable among us are now protected.

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As for that worry about blood clots, “a study by the University of Oxford found the risk of rare but sometimes-deadly blood clotting is roughly eight to 10 times greater in Covid-19 sufferers than among people who have received any of the first three Western-developed vaccines widely available.” Vaccinating people makes them less likely to suffer blood clots.

But you can tell within the ranks of public health experts, government officials, and a lot of media voices there is a widespread and surprisingly steadfast resistance against saying “we’re winning,” or “the crisis is ending,” or “the pandemic is winding down.” Yes, Michigan is still a mess. Yes, we’re probably going to need regular booster shots. Yes, we’re still not quite there in terms of herd immunity – although remember herd immunity isn’t binary; as more people get vaccinated, the virus has newer opportunities to spread. With almost a quarter of Americans fully vaccinated, and 40 percent of Americans having at least one dose… we’re getting there.

The health expert class appears terrified of declaring good news, lest Americans throw all caution to the wind and start holding “let’s cough in each other’s faces” parties. Government officials are reluctant to declare good news, because this would mean giving up some of the far-reaching powers they’ve gained during the crisis – or it would mean acknowledging, as Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer said this week, “policy change alone won’t change the tide.” And some journalists don’t want to acknowledge good news because a sense of crisis is good for ratings, traffic, and readership.

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