Joe Biden spoke to the nation on Tuesday, giving his assessment of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus and offering what he believes to the best ways to address it.
The president spent a good part of the speech castigating those who refused to get vaccinated or get the booster shot as well as railing against TV networks and social media that sowed doubt about the vaccine.
But it’s what Biden didn’t say that should be making news: he didn’t claim that vaccinated people neither contract nor spread the virus. Instead, he finally admitted that vaccinated people can indeed spread COVID-19 — something he had previously been adamant in saying couldn’t happen.
On the positive side, Biden did finally admit that vaccinated people can contract and transmit the virus. Previously, when making the case for his healthcare worker vaccine mandate, Biden had said the opposite, noting that people deserved “the certainty that the people providing that care are protected from COVID and cannot spread it to you.”
Turns out vaccinated people absolutely can spread the virus, as has been happening with more frequency as omicron hits the U.S. Fortunately, as is often the case with viruses, this latest variant may spread faster than earlier strains, but it does not appear to be as debilitating. And new variants will just keep coming.
Biden also failed to take responsibility for his own COVID testing failures after blasting Trump for his.
When asked what took so long to ramp up testing, Biden snapped, “C’mon, what took so long? What took so long is it didn’t take long at all. What happened was the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anybody thought.”
To be clear, for months, health experts have expected a winter surge of Covid, which would make sense given that we had a significant one last year. This was pretty clear well before Omicron.
To fix the testing problem, Biden will allow Americans to order a COVID test online free of charge from the government and have it delivered at no cost. It’s something that should have been available a year ago, so there’s no reason to give any kudos to Biden for finally initiating such a program.
In addition, 1,000 members of the military will be deployed to help staff medical facilities caring for COVID-19 patients. There are also plans to send out additional ventilators and equipment from the national stockpile besides expanding hospital capacity to handle infected patients.
In a speech at the White House, Mr. Biden said the government will establish new testing sites and use the Defense Production Act to help manufacture more tests. There will also be pop-up vaccination sites, hundreds of new people to administer the vaccines and new rules that make it easier for pharmacists to work across state lines.
You would hope that those members of the military being deployed to hospitals were medics or doctors or someone trained in medicine. But with this bunch, you can’t be certain.
But Biden saved his anger for the usual targets when he speaks of COVID: those who don’t agree that everyone needs to get jabbed.
Striking a dire tone about the risks to the one-in-four American adults who are not fully vaccinated, Biden said they “have a significantly higher risk of ending up in the hospital or even dying.”
Biden noted that former President Donald Trump has also received his booster shot. “Maybe one of the few things he and I agree on,” he said.
The bottom line is that the consensus in mainstream media and on left-wing news sites is that Biden is behind the curve on COVID, and the measures he offered yesterday in the face of the virulent omicron variant are too little, too late.
“Here we are on the eve of Christmas with Omicron spreading, tests scarce even if you can afford them, and a large portion of vulnerable Americans who are not boosted or not vaccinated at all — all too late to matter for so many,” wrote Caitlin Owens for the left-wing site Axios.
It won’t matter for those who put their faith in Joe Biden and end up sick anyway.