In the wake of a flurry of stories relating to the COVID Omicron variant, President Joe Biden took to the airwaves Dec. 21 to outline his Winter Plan. Along with more testing centers, the president committed to delivering half a billion rapid COVID tests to homes across America. And yet despite the certitude with which Biden spoke, analysts were left more confused than confident.
Testing, Testing, 123 …
The promise of 500 million coronavirus tests appears something of a head-scratcher. Where will the tests be delivered? And how long will that number of tests last in a country of 326 million souls, a number of whom – under Biden’s federal mandate – require constant testing to enter their workplace?
Across the pond, “free” tests have been a staple of the United Kingdom’s efforts to combat the coronavirus. However, testing was placed on temporary hold as the government website upon which home tests are ordered suffered a shortage. When things are “free,” they are used at a greater rate – especially when entry to events requires a negative COVID result.
A Sticky Wicket
World leaders are facing a barrage of negative approval ratings for their handling of the pandemic, and Biden – despite a thorough defense from allies in the Fourth Estate – is no exception. The president tacitly acknowledged his fading popularity, saying:
“I know vaccination requirements are unpopular for many, not even popular for those who are anxious to get them. My administration has put them in place not to control your life, but to save your life and the lives of others.”
Yet watchers wonder if the science is truly being followed. When negative COVID tests are no longer good enough for entry into workplaces or venues, and yet the vaccinated – regardless of whether or not they have tested positive for the coronavirus – are permitted free movement, folks begin to question whether the federal response is more about policy than prevention.
A Common Enemy?
A White House press briefing that lambasted the unvaccinated and prophesized doom was released earlier in the week, stating, “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” This was a theme the president was keen to expand upon with his “empathy” so lauded by the legacy media.
He took the public to task and yet directed his anger to a more palatable culprit, saying:
“The unvaccinated are responsible for their own choices … but those choices have been fuelled by dangerous misinformation cable news and social media.”
“It’s wrong. It’s immoral,” said the president. “I call on these purveyors of lies and misinformation to stop it. Stop it now.” But who precisely was Biden talking about? As Dr. Anthony Fauci would no doubt agree, the science changes as more information becomes apparent. Timelines lengthen, figures and percentages remain in flux. What the CDC and the World Health Organization said at the beginning of the pandemic would now be deemed COVID misinformation by social media platforms and left-leaning fact-checkers.
Without naming names, the viewing public may be left wondering just whose information should be ignored.
Which Way Now?
Roman statesman and philosopher Seneca wrote about 2,000 years ago:
“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject … And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them … Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.”
When the future and the livelihoods of millions are held at the whim of a president who so confidently makes proclamations, the risk of disaster is great. When vague accusations of misinformation from shadowy organizations are the basis for a moral lecture, society writ large is in danger of running from one point to the other without care or consideration. In a panicked rush, good sense and patience are disregarded, and bad decisions await.
Biden may have thought he was offering comfort to many Americans who fear further restrictions under the Omicron banner or even illness from the new variant. And yet, the confusing message – filled with logical fallacies and ambiguous recriminations – neither comforted nor displayed leadership.
And that may be the most worrying aspect of all.
~ Read more from Mark Angelides.