• January 31, 2023

Opinion: The Perpetual Covid Crisis

President Joe Biden on March 4th.


Photo:

Pool / Getty Images

President Biden’s announcement earlier this week that the US should have enough vaccines by the end of May to vaccinate every adult American raised hope for a return to normal. This is apparently prehistoric thinking.

“The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking,” Biden said Wednesday after Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted his statewide mask mandate and corporate restrictions. Democrats applaud Mr Biden, but imagine if

Donald Trump

had attacked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown as “Neanderthals”.

Vaccination rates in Texas and other states have increased while hospital admissions are falling. Approximately one in five adults in Texas has at least one dose of the

Pfizer

or Moderna vaccine. Most are senior citizens and people with health problems who are at greatest risk for serious illness. Texas hospital stays have dropped more than 60% since mid-January.

The politicians created a boxing gorge last spring with locks that were originally intended to “smooth the curve”. But every time the governors relaxed the restrictions and the cases surfaced, the Democrats called for bans. Not that lockdowns (or mask mandates) did much to help California or New York, which saw bigger climbs this winter than Florida did with either.

Vaccines should more or less allow Americans to get back to their pre-Covid life – youth sports, eating out, family gatherings, and even going outside without a mask. It is probably still advisable to wear masks in public places for a few more months, and businesses like it

Starbucks

and

target

plan to continue challenging them.

But Liberals and their public health friends don’t seem to want the pandemic to end – never. Some Lockdown proponents warn that myriad new gene variants could be more contagious – although it is unclear whether this is the case – and could make vaccines less effective. They also warn that vaccinated people may still transmit the virus if they are asymptomatic (although the likelihood is small).

Ergo, pandemic restrictions must be maintained until we have achieved herd immunity – which experts believe may never happen due to new communicable variants and the potential for re-infection. This eternal public health crisis is politically and economically unsustainable. Washington can no longer pass on trillions of dollars in unemployment benefits, grocery stamps, cash payments, rent subsidies, and other social benefits to help unemployed (and many working) Americans. Forget the psychological distress of people who have been locked up for a year.

But Democrats seem pleased that they can use the pandemic to expand the welfare state. Some are now calling for recurring stimulus measures and higher unemployment benefits tied to economic conditions. “This crisis is far from over and families deserve the assurance that they can put food on the table and have a roof over their heads,” wrote 10 Democratic senators to Mr Biden this week.

In the meantime, they are preparing a huge spending bill on climate infrastructure, which they believe is badly needed to stimulate the economy and save the planet. See how the Covid crisis turns into a climate crisis.

Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins. Image: Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP via Getty Images

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Published in the print edition of March 5, 2021.

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