That point was frequently lost in the breathless reporting on the CDC’s decision to recommend that vaccinated Americans who live in “areas of substantial or high transmission” resume wearing face masks in public places. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House COVID-19 Response Team, contributed to the confusion by grossly exaggerating the likelihood of breakthrough infections.
The estimates offered by Walensky and Wakana, which seemed to be based on a misunderstanding of the effectiveness rates reported in vaccine studies, implied that vaccinated people face a higher risk of infection than unvaccinated people do. That message was plainly inconsistent with the CDC’s repeated statements that breakthrough infections remain “rare” and that unvaccinated people account for “the vast majority” of virus transmission.
Another point of consternation for some scientists is the tracking of so-called breakthrough Covid-19 infections among people who have been vaccinated.
The CDC has said such infections are more common with Delta than previous variants, but the agency stopped tracking mild or moderate breakthrough infections that didn’t lead to hospitalization or death in April, before Delta emerged as a driver of the pandemic in the U.S.
Without that additional breakthrough data, scientists have struggled to understand how Delta behaves compared with earlier iterations of the virus, said Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It then leaves unmeasured the extent of infection and extent of transmission among vaccinated people,” he said.
The modern progressive speaks the language of high-minded purpose but always ends with coercion. Witness New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the uber progressive, who announced Tuesday that New Yorkers will soon need proof of vaccination to do everything from dining out to working out at a gym. He’s proud that New York is the first U.S. city to impose such a mandate.
Parents, even those who were vaccinated themselves, are understandably skittish about giving the vaccine to children, who likely don’t need it. Again: Kids are at minuscule risk from the virus, and they transmit at a far lower rate than do adults. If schooling becomes contingent on vaccination status, New York City kids are in for another year of educational chaos.
If a city wanted to force out its families, it would not do things much differently than New York has done. We used to understand that families were the key to a thriving Big Apple. Now we push children out of public life, as if they are lepers, and treat them as an afterthought.
Those of you who continue to believe that government officials – even ones who are scientists – deserve our trust during times of crises might ponder NIH director Francis Collins’s recent claim that even vaccinated parents should mask at home to protect their children, and then his backtracking.
I was once invited but then disinvited from @andersoncooper/@AC360. For views contrary to their #COVID narrative, @CNN use lay people, not daring to invite a public health scientist.
Even though Australia has just a few thousand cases and remarkably few fatalities, its major cities have been subject to a series of shutdowns. Residents of Sydney have been told to stay at home other than for essential purposes since June. People are legally required to wear masks even while in the open air – an obligation never imposed here, not least because the spread of Covid outdoors is almost non-existent. While many Australians have hitherto supported the eradication strategy, there is growing resentment in some quarters at the imposition of these restrictions. Protests have led to the deployment of the army on the streetsto enforce the lockdown.
How has it come to the point that Australia needs to call up the military to eradicate a virus that is now endemic in the world? In order to uphold its zero Covid approach Australia will need to keep its borders closed forever and lock down its cities every time a cluster of cases is detected.
Yet for some incomprehensible reason, governments have focussed single-mindedly on avoiding Covid deaths on their watch even while oblivious to short and long-term deaths caused by harsh society-wide shutdowns. To paraphrase one of George Orwell’s most-quoted sentences, all deaths are equal, but a Covid death is more equal than all others.
By now there’s a wealth of studies establishing the ineffectiveness of lockdowns, many of which I have referenced in earlier articles in The Spectator Australia, and some that purport to show their effectiveness. Writing in our British parent publication, statistician Professor Simon Wood showed that new infections peaked and fell before lockdown on all three occasions in England.