The highly contagious Delta variant is being blamed for a large increase in positive COVID-19 tests across the country. Los Angeles County reported 1,827 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths on Saturday. But the number of hospitalizations and ICU cases has not been going up nearly as fast.
The number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County due to the virus jumped from 462 on Friday to 507, while the number of those patients in intensive care remained at 103, according to state figures.
The smaller increase in serious cases hasn’t stopped calls for a return to mask mandates and limiting large gatherings. “The level of COVID-19 transmission we are currently experiencing is now leading to significant increases in serious illness and hospitalizations and requires us to take immediate action to prevent erosion of our recovery efforts,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
As noted, the increases in serious illnesses and hospitalizations don’t justify any “immediate action” at all. But the county has initiated another mask mandate and other restrictions can’t be far behind.
Not everyone at the county is on board with the new mandate. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday his deputies will not actively enforce the mask-wearing mandate, insisting his department is under-funded.
He also said the requirement for vaccinated people to wear masks “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the lone Republican on the five- member Board of Supervisors, also criticized the mandate for running afoul of federal and state rules on masking. She also said the mask mandate won’t help the county’s efforts “to stress the efficacy of the vaccines and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated.”
Democrats are blaming Republicans, Fox News, and the anti-vaccine movement for “vaccine hesitancy.” What makes this criticism ring hollow is that it was Democrats who were the original anti-vaxxers. In their eagerness to defeat Donald Trump last fall, Democrats ginned up hysterical opposition to vaccines that were close to being approved for emergency use by the FDA.
On September 24, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will independently review all vaccines authorized by the federal government. “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government’s opinion,” he said in a statement.
This lack of trust in the government was picked up on by some anti-vax groups, saying Cuomo was reiterating their own arguments against vaccines generally. Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi responded to these groups, telling Newsweek “the anti-science crowd should knock it off and stop twisting our words.”
“What we don’t trust is a federal government that has been caught red-handed multiple times circumventing the health experts and making political decisions seemingly to boost the president’s re-election chances.”
The skepticism went all the way to the party leadership, including the party’s presidential candidate.
A week later, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made similar remarks during a speech in Delaware, saying, “I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump.”
Said Nancy Pelosi at the time: “Unless there is confidence that the vaccine has gone through the clinical trials, and then is approved by the independent scientific advisory committee, as established to do just this, there will be doubts that people will have.”
Of course, the vaccines went through clinical trials and were approved by three separate independent advisory boards. Pelosi knew this but she wanted people to distrust the vaccines so that Donald Trump wouldn’t benefit politically from his administration’s achievement.
There are many reasons for vaccine hesitancy, not the least of which is the risk/benefit analysis that most people do individually. Some people strongly feel they don’t need the vaccine or believe the risks of being inoculated outweigh the risk of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus.
But a sizable portion of the unvaccinated were almost certainly influenced by Democratic Party leaders who questioned the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.