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The Crisis Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Over, and We Need to Start Acting Like It

Screenshot from embedded video.

In a desperate attempt to spin the news cycle away from the disaster in Afghanistan and less-than-stellar economic results, President Joe Bide will pivot back to COVID-19 next week. During his remarks on disappointing job numbers, he informed the nation that he would present a new plan to contain the Delta variant. The surge across the southeast is declining, and other regions will follow a similar pattern. The rollout of a new “plan” to contain the virus is a pivot away from the dumpster fire that is every other issue Biden has touched to date.

There is no place in the day-to-day response to the virus for the federal government anymore. As with other viruses, the CDC should perform surveillance and reporting. The FDA should continue to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments. The NIH should continue to fund research on COVID-19. What needs to stop is the bureaucrats in these agencies making broad-based proclamations like CDC Director Rochelle Walensky did heading into the holiday weekend.

First, Walensky shared graphs that appear to show that case rates and hospitalizations have peaked and are beginning to decline. They also show that despite case levels nearly reaching the peak level from early January, deaths with or from COVID-19 have not come close to previous waves. Then she pushed universal masking in schools regardless of vaccination status, testing asymptomatic kids, social distancing, and the usual nonsense. And, of course, everyone should get jabbed.

The droning begins to sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown. Walensky is really bad at this. You can see her reading directly from the prompter. It hit peak infuriating when she declared that Americans must sacrifice another holiday to COVID-19. For everyone, nationwide, no matter the situation in your community or the destination you wish to travel to.

Vaccinated people can gather outside. Everyone needs to mask indoors, jabbed or not. It is nearly impossible not to laugh out loud when she says, “As I have said before, masks are not forever, but they are for now.” Sure. Then she suggests carting your unvaccinated relatives to get their vaccines this holiday. Then during the question and answer session, Wallensky told the unvaccinated to stay home.

How about mind your own business? Nationwide edicts are insane. Every region is going to experience COVID-19 on a seasonal basis for the foreseeable future. It is no different than influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and the garden variety common cold virus in terms of how it will behave.

There is also good reason to believe that as Americans are exposed multiple times, the illness will resemble what we experience during infection with the usual suspects. Natural immunity monitoring in Israel shows recovering from infection provides durable protection. Hopefully, vaccination will continue to decrease disease severity for those who choose to take it.

Healthcare providers have the tools they need to begin to manage COVID-19 within the traditional healthcare system. Every American over the age of 12 has been able to access the vaccine for months. Approximately 140 million Americans have recovered from COVID-19, according to the CDC’s disease burden estimates. The virus will run out of large numbers of people that it can impact in severe and deadly ways. It may always have the potential to make the elderly and otherwise infirm severely ill. But so can almost every respiratory virus we have dealt with up until now.

There is also an approved treatment available. Florida demonstrates how monoclonal antibodies can disconnect illness from hospitalization under a statewide distribution plan led by Governor Ron DeSantis. Some doctors also have good results with inhaled steroids and other symptomatic treatments. Letting doctors practice medicine again would be a fantastic idea.

After 18 months, the idea that any of these “experts” will change the pandemic’s trajectory substantially with their recommendations is absurd. The agencies supported trials of and delivered vaccinations. They have approved and recommended one outpatient treatment. The paternalistic approach they continue to take is offensive. No one who is unvaccinated is asking for protection. The vaccinated should proceed with a high degree of confidence. And the kids have always been okay.

So this holiday weekend, spend time with friends and family. Hug them right around the neck. The crisis phase of the pandemic is over, and it is time to start living again.

WATCH CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s full presentation