News & Politics

'Delta Alarmism' May Keep Some Schools Closed

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

We all knew that it would be very difficult to return to some semblance of normalcy when the pandemic ebbed. Not because the disease itself would be weakening its hold on us, but because those charged with protecting us would refuse to give up the power and control that citizens temporarily granted them to deal with the emergency.

The “Delta variant” of the coronavirus — or the “Indian variant” of the “Chinese flu,” if you want to flip off the politically correct — is now being used as an excuse to reimpose pandemic controls.

But is it really about “control”? Isn’t the Delta variant more contagious? Shouldn’t we run away screaming in terror?

Not exactly. The Foundation for Economic Education wants to remind us that “far more people were dying from COVID-19 months ago as we were winding down restrictions than are dying today as some call to reinstate them.”

Yes, it really is about control no matter how much more contagious the Indian…er, Delta variant is.

Now, some would cite rising COVID-19 case counts or hospitalizations in certain parts of the country as evidence that the pandemic is indeed once again spiraling out of control. But many COVID-19 cases recorded as positive are either asymptomatic or come with very mild symptoms—especially the cases confirmed among vaccinated individuals—so high case counts are not necessarily proof of a serious problem. Hospitalizations are concerning, yes, but primarily insofar as they lead to high numbers of deaths, which, thankfully, is not the case so far with the Delta variant.

Others would say that deaths are a “lagging indicator” that come in several weeks after the increased spread of the disease. But the Delta variant has been spreading in the US for months now, and deaths have remained relatively flat, in part due to widespread vaccination.

Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya told FEE, “By immunizing the elderly and many other vulnerable people, we have provided them with excellent protection against severe disease in case they get infected. Also contributing is widespread natural immunity from recovered COVID patients. Though cases may rise, deaths will no longer follow in proportion.  We have effectively defanged the disease with our successful vaccination rollout.”

But what about the kids? At the moment, children under 12 cannot get the vaccine, although that may change in a matter of weeks. With school starting in less than a month for many children, shouldn’t we be safe rather than sorry and keep the kids home under lock and key while making sure we can connect to the virtual classroom?

The teachers’ unions think so. But at the same time, some unions are resisting vaccine mandates. So they don’t want in-person classes because schools aren’t safe, but they won’t do the most basic thing to see that they’re safer: get jabbed.

Every actor in this drama is proceeding on the basic assumption that there should be no risk in life, that the very small chance of catching COVID-19 in a school — and the infinitesimally small chance that even if a child contracts the disease, he will die — is too great a risk to take. Better to shut down the schools, keep your child home, and stunt his social and intellectual growth because of an “overabundance of caution.”

Yes, it is about control. More than that, it’s about the inability of some people to give it up.