"Please, if you're not going to get the vaccine at least wear a mask. Try to be part of the solution instead of the problem." - Melinda Hunt, RN on Covid ward in Shreveport, LA, last night on ABC News
Never let it be said that a resident reactionary WSJ troll will let an opportunity for misinformation pass. Such is the case with William McGurn's latest recycled Covid bunkum, 'Masks Are A Covid Distraction'. Predictably, he starts his screed by complaining about Trump not being given enough credit for the vaccines, i.e. in Operation Warp Speed, writing:
"Mr. Biden has still never been able to give Mr. Trump credit for this achievement."
What achievement? As Leonnig and Rucker point out in their recent book, I Alone Can Fix It, Trump's initial response to learning the AstraZeneca vaccine was available and could deliver 300 million doses, was to reject it saying: "That's not good! It's British!" Railing at Alex Azar for not coming up with an American -made vaccine. He had to be forced into accepting it and even then the delays dragged out production. Trump also destroyed his own Covid narratives by holding idiotic press conferences featuring him maskless, as well as bloviating about taming the virus using UV light inside the body and injecting bleach. As one Trump aide confided to the book's authors: "If he wasn't president he'd be prosecuted by now!'
Now, as to the misinformation. While acknowledging that "prioritizing vaccines is the right way to go" McGurn writes:
"Unfortunately much of the public focus is now back on masks. Whatever the marginal efficacy of masks, surely they are a distant second to getting the remaining parts of the population vaccinated."
But this is bollocks, because in fact masks are of major efficacy in halting virus spread, not "marginal." Yes, it's a damned inconvenience to wear them - but they do limit the virus spread along with social distancing. This is especially important now as elementary school kids still can't get vaccinated. Yet in schools, only a dolt would deny that it is masks that provide a level of protection, given kids are being hit much harder than before (with the Alpha variant). As columnist Mike Littwin asks in the Aug. 3 COS Indy ('Delta, Masks and Mandates'):
"Is there anyone who really doesn't want to protect them?"
Well, evidently that'd be William McGurn, who then prattles:
"Given the combination of news reports falsely suggesting that the vaccinated are as vulnerable as the unvaccinated to Covid-19, and authorities in some places, including California, insisting that even the vaccinated will be required to mask, is it surprising that some are asking why they should get vaccinated at all?."
But it isn't masks that are the "costly distraction" given they complement the vaccines in an era - and in areas- where the Delta variant is surging. (And as of now more than 80 percent of new cses are of this variant, with more than 90 percent of deaths among the unvaccinated.) Let us also please bear in mind that so long as the "lunatics" (Mike Littwin's word for them) keep this anti-vaccine posture going - thanks to the costly distraction of misinformation - we are in danger of seeing a new variant emerge that renders all our vaccines useless.
In effect, the vaccine can only approach "silver bullet" status when certain conditions hold. Number one being achieving herd immunity via mass inoculations. It is precisely the stupid, illogical vaccine resistance which has put us in the position of now having to mask up to try to halt the Delta spread. This is because we now recognize those like me who've been vaccinated can still have become infected thanks to the unvaccinated. As Mike Littwin put it:
"While vaccines work, they're not 100 percent so the unvaccinated affect the vaccinated too - which includes every kid under 12 years old."
At his column's end Littwin writes how it is "maddening" how the virus has been allowed to spread, and with good reason. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey Wednesday that found there was a big split between unvaccinated and vaccinated adults in what they perceived as the bigger threat during the pandemic. Specifically, more unvaccinated adults in the United States view the coronavirus vaccine as a greater risk to their health than the disease caused by the virus itself, the poll found.
Thanks to these red state knuckle draggers, the Covid resurgence risks stretching hospitals and healthcare workers so thin that patient outcomes could suffer, said medical and disaster-planning authorities. Patient surges can leave hospitals without enough doctors, nurses, space or equipment to care for patients as they normally would.
Meanwhile, the 'Maggot of the Month' award goes to Florida gubernator Ron Desantis who has vowed to withhold funding from any counties that impose mask mandates. That would be the one thing that protects against Delta in the absence of vaccination. (FLA yesterday registered over 12, 340 hospitalized, including 135 kids in ICUs.)
Perhaps Mike Littwin's end question is the one to ask knotheads like Bill McGurn and Ron Desantis:
"If the Chinese had somehow weaponized a virus variant that killed only Republicans would you still refuse a vaccine in order to 'own the libs'?"
My bet is they would, that's how desperate they are to show their yen for fake freedom and "liberty". In the meantime the continued spread of this propaganda risks making the pandemic permanent.
The right's strategy on COVID-19 vaccines, as planned and executed by the Republican Party and Fox News, was a simple as it was sinister: sabotage President Joe Biden's rollout by sacrificing the bodies of their own supporters. If they could convince enough of their people to avoid the vaccine, they could keep COVID-19 transmission rates high and garner headlines from easily duped mainstream outlets declaring things like "Biden falls short" or "Biden fails to contain the virus." For a brief moment in early July, it seemed the plan was working, with a series of headlines that seemingly blamed Biden, flatly ignoring the growing partisan divide on vaccine uptake.
Then the delta variant, an extremely contagious and virulent strain of the virus, started tearing through red-state America, creating hot spot maps that neatly correlated to political maps showing rates of support for Donald Trump. There was no longer any denying that a Republican identity is the best predictor of anti-vaccine sentiment.