Good news, everyone! The COVID-19/Omicron/BA.5 pandemic is apparently all over! Done! Gone! How do I know this? Because the editorial board of the Murdoch-owned fa-chrissakes New York Post says so. Why? Because President Biden is still alive. “Biden’s mild COVID case is proof the pandemic is over, and everyone should stop pretending otherwise,” reads the headline. All that’s missing is a “So there!” at the end.
I’m just going to splash this on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up… but isn’t it at least possible the president of the United States is recovering so well in part because he’s, well, the president of the United States? With immediate access to the best health care and COVID treatments on the planet? That certainly sounds reasonable, even as an unreasonable number of people do not have such health care opportunities. And the New York Post doesn’t even begin to consider the fact that scores of people exist who have health conditions that render them severely immunocompromised and much more vulnerable to severe COVID than Biden.
“We wish the president a rapid recovery,” announces the opening of the editorial. “So far, it looks like his case is high-profile evidence that the pandemic is completely over — that Americans’ anti-coronavirus efforts should focus exclusively on getting jabs to those who need them and treating cases as they pop up. That means absolutely no mandates — not for mass masking and so on, and not even for vaccination (except perhaps for special cases such as those who care for the elderly).”
Ah, the masks, ye gods and little fishes, the bedeviled masks. Never in human history has such an amalgam of wanna-be tough guys been so thoroughly undone by Band-Aid-level technology. Do the folks on the Post ed board understand that one of the reasons this nightmare has dragged on for so long is because Donald Trump — aided and abetted by conservative news outlets owned by Mr. Murdoch — went out of their way to shit-talk the use of masks because Trump thought they made him look weak?
Increased infection rates caused by this unconscionable behavior ran headlong into the rise of the increasingly transmissible variants that dominate the pandemic today. The daily infection rates still tally in the thousands. That’s not “over” by even the most wildly irresponsible metric. It’s a perfect circle.
Trump has been yelling about Jesus a lot lately, and the Fox News empire has long fashioned itself a Christian-friendly organization… but their line on masking is yet another example of their hypocrisy. A major reason to mask was to protect others from you in case you have COVID and don’t know it. Put another way, wearing a mask was a small sacrifice you made to help your neighbor. Unless I read the book wrong, that is pretty much the bone-marrow definition of what Christianity is supposed to be about. The hypocrisy is boggling.
“Even as many of our policymakers have focused on deaths,” writes Kevin Kavanagh for Infection Control Today, “long COVID-19 is continuing to take a toll on society by impacting multiple organ systems. Long COVID-19 has been found to occur in 30% of patients treated for COVID-19, and up to 70% have symptoms of brain fog, memory, or other cognitive problems. It also can have a profound impact on the heart and other organs. Also, long COVID-19 is responsible for approximately doubling COVID-19 deaths with 8.39 per 1000 additional deaths occurring after the acute infection.”
And after hearing this, we are supposed to accept that COVID is “over”?
“Hospitals across the country are grappling with widespread staffing shortages, complicating preparations for a potential Covid-19 surge as the BA.5 subvariant drives up cases, hospital admissions and deaths,” reports Krista Mahr for Politico. “The current wave, in which the new number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 has risen more than 40 percent in the last month, is also putting fresh stress on facilities as federal funding for the pandemic response is running out, leaving some with less flexibility to hire more staff if they need to…. ‘There is growing concern that this money has run out,’ said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association. ‘It’s not really getting sufficient attention.’”
“All over, you say?” I wrote back in June. “Someone forgot to tell that to the preschool-aged son of my dear friend and colleague, a 4-year-old who presented with a viciously spiked fever over the weekend. As with nearly 4 million children in the U.S., my colleague’s child is susceptible to seizures if his temperature rises too high. When the seizure set in this time, he became unresponsive and had to be rushed to the emergency room, which fortunately had room for him. As the medical staff worked to reduce his fever, the diagnosis arrived: COVID-19…. You really can’t peddle the ‘all this is behind us’ bullshit to my colleague with her son in the emergency room this weekend, or to my other coworker whose toddler contracted the virus in February and who had to sit up all night listening as their child labored to breathe.”
And then there’s this, the inconvenient weevil in the porridge: Me, and the millions like me who deal with medical issues that leave us permanently open to being flayed by the virus. For me, it’s bad lungs, a gift from a prior bout of pneumonia. Many others are immunocompromised for a variety of reasons — cancer, heart disease, various disorders — and our lives get a little bit worse, a little bit smaller, a little bit more terrifying, every time a large media microphone coughs out another “reason” for people to let down their guard and act like this is over for everyone.
“This pandemic is done,” proclaims the conclusion of the Post editorial, “and it’s not coming back. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And anyone still pushing fear (status-seeking ‘experts,’ power-seeking pols, etc.) is almost certainly working an agenda that has nothing to do with your best interests.”
Nice of them to end this with such a rich vein of bullshit. “Working an agenda that has nothing to do with your best interests,” you say? I think I know what that’s like. That’s like working an anti-mask agenda to try and get a terrible Republican president reelected. That’s like working a viciously capitalist agenda to hurl unprotected workers into harm’s way so the owners and bosses can start making money again.
That’s the same crap we’ve been hearing from the same self-serving nonsense vectors almost since this whole thing began. It is wrong and dangerous all day long.