As I write this, there is good news abound for the country in terms of navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic. Rates of transmission appear to be decreasing, the number of new cases are down, and the availability of the various vaccines to the disease, which happens to be highly effective against the virus, is expanding throughout the country.
The data shows that the more people vaccinated, the healthier society is. If somebody is an at-risk member of society, they should and must be vaccinated. The positive effects of these rollouts should be transparent to all Americans. Once the majority of us and majority of at-risk people are vaccinated, life can return to normal, or at least it should.
There has been incredibly vague messaging from the Biden administration and government officials. Individuals such as Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, and Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Infectious Disease, have not been clear about how long health regulations are to be in place, but their reluctance to signal a change in health policy is noticeable.
Psaki has already stated that even after an individual is vaccinated, they should still wear masks and social distance. Anthony Fauci mirrored her comments with his own, claiming that even after they were vaccinated, grandparents may not be recommended to or allowed to receive visitors in their homes.
Not only is this sort of talk insane, but it is also dangerous. Government officials are actively de-incentivizing people from receiving vaccines. By telling the public that they will still have to live a COVID-19 lifestyle even after being vaccinated, officials are essentially telling Americans to not bother getting the vaccine.
This will inevitably prolong the time it takes to make sure that the most vulnerable can be protected.
Here is some science, the vaccines are around 90% effective in reducing infection and almost 99% percent effective in reducing fatalities, which means once a person is vaccinated, it is highly unlikely they will be infected and even more unlikely that they will die.
The threat of someone carrying the disease, let alone dying from it, is incredibly low, almost non-existent, once they have been vaccinated. Yet, officials are insisting that life will not be able to return to normal once a person has been immunized.
Dr. Fauci even went as far to cast doubt on the vaccine, commenting that he did not know how durable it was over time in a recent interview.
These are vague statements, which can and will be interpretated differently by various groups and individuals. While none of these statements are set-in-stone policy, they do leave the door open for COVID lockdowns and restrictions to remain in place even after communities have been vaccinated and have low transmission rates.
The American people have been told, for almost a year now, that they must sequester themselves from their loved ones, avoid entertainment venues, and make extra effort in their lives to avoid contact with other people, whether it be in academic or social life. We were told we needed to wait for a vaccine in order for life to go back to normal. Now we have it, and the same people who told us to wait for the vaccine are now the people telling us that it actually doesn’t matter, even if you get vaccinated, you are to be treated the same as if you were not.
There are only two explanations for this sort of backtracking that government officials have been engaging in over the last few weeks.
The first is simply general incompetence, it is conceivable that the Biden administration has simply taken an overly cautious to the way they address reopening, and their warnings not to expect a return to normalcy are simply low bars they are setting themselves up to hurdle over.
The second reason would be the COVD-19 response is becoming less and less about health concerns and more and more about control.
This crisis has led to an explosion of government power. The country has seen governors and mayors unilaterally deciding what businesses and institutions are essential and which are not. They have declared which personnel are vital to public life and which are not, and they have declared what is legal and what is not.
The excuse that it is for our own health and safety has been put forth, but the actions these governors and mayors have taken cast serious doubt on that being the true intent. Whether it is Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, outlawing massive gatherings before taking herself to a Bide-elect block party celebration, or Austin Mayor Steve Adler telling Texans to stay home for the holidays while literally on vacation in Mexico, our leaders have established a track record of ignoring their own rules.
If they truly felt that their regulations were the difference between life and death, surely these hypocritical politicians would respect their own declarations.
This level of dishonesty is not isolated to a local or state level either. It was only last year that Dr. Fauci, a saint in the eyes of many Americans, blatantly and completely lied to the American public about the effectiveness of masks. He told us they were not effective, and that they would not help us. We now know he only wanted to retain PPE equipment for federal workers and decided to deceive us to make sure his people had enough for themselves. Not too mention he himself has traveled for a vacation during the pandemic while insisting the rest of us stay home.
Our leaders have constantly been saying one thing and doing another throughout the past year. It is clear that at least for some of them, this pandemic has been more about establishing control than saving lives.
Now that these people are telling us that even with the vaccine, we must remain in quasi-lockdown, their claims must, at the very least, be treated with skepticism. Our leaders have already showed they value control over safety just in the way they have lived their lives.
All that said, of course COVID-19 will remain a nominal threat, we as a society will never be able to completely eliminate it, and even after a vaccination, if an individual does not feel comfortable with being in close quarters with others, that is their prerogative and they can live their life that way.
But do not let the government make your decision when it comes to risk assessment. We are the best determinants of our risk, not some federal bureaucrat. The government’s role must be to provide us with all the information needed for each citizen to make an informed decision, not mandate our actions from D.C.
The vaccine is the key to our normal lives again. The government, at any level, should not be allowed to withhold normalcy from us when the time is right.