Here’s the introduction to Friday’s White House press briefing regarding COVID as the country heads into another winter:
Today, Dr. Walensky will give an overview of the state of the pandemic and on new practices that will help keep schools open, and Dr. Fauci will provide an update on the latest science and the importance of boosters.
But before we start, I want to talk about how we should think about this moment.
As we’ve explained in prior briefings, the Omicron variant is more transmissible and our medical experts anticipate it will lead to a rise in cases.
But unlike last winter, we now have the power to protect ourselves.
Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible. If you are vaccinated, you could test positive. But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild.
We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this.
For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.
So, our message to every American is clear: There is action you can take to protect yourself and your family. Wear a mask in public indoor settings. Get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get a booster shot when you’re eligible.
We are prepared to confront this new challenge. We have plenty of vaccines and booster shots available at convenient locations and for no cost. There is clear guidance on masking to help slow the spread. And we have emergency medical teams to respond to surges as necessary.
So, this is not a moment to panic because we know how to protect people and we have the tools to do it. But we need the American people to do their part to protect themselves, their children, and their communities.
The more people get vaccinated, the less severe this Omicron outbreak will be. One hundred sixty thousand unvaccinated people have already needlessly lost their lives just since June, and this number will continue to go up until the unvaccinated take action.
So, I’ll say it once more: Get vaccinated.
One of the challenges of living in a society in which the political system is breaking down because it’s being hijacked by nihilistic authoritarians is that it’s very difficult to appreciate in real time just how bizarre things are getting. So here I want to emphasize the following: The above statement recommends a bunch of things that the Republican party opposes. Specifically, the Republican party opposes any affirmative act by the government that would make it more likely that people would get vaccinated and/or wear mask in public indoor settings.
The Republican party’s position is that things like getting vaccinated and wearing masks in public indoor settings should be purely matters of individual choice. This is, objectively speaking, no different than being opposed to vaccination and masking period.
If a politician were to say that he believes the decision to drive after drinking alcohol should be a matter of individual choice, because the freedom to drive after drinking is more important than protecting the public by punishing people who make this choice, everyone would recognize that this politician was in fact in favor of not doing anything to interfere with drunk driving, which in turn is no different, practically speaking, than being in favor of drunk driving.
Being opposed to any coercive measures in regard to the choice to get vaccinated means that you are affirmatively in favor of people deciding not to get vaccinated. Since vaccination doesn’t work on the social level unless enough people get vaccinated, being in favor of making vaccination a matter of individual choice means you are opposed to vaccination as a matter of social policy.
Which means you are, as a matter of revealed preference, in favor of the pandemic continuing.
You are pro-COVID, which means, objectively speaking, that you are pro-mass death.
And the reason you are pro-mass death is because gaining some sort of political advantage is more valuable to you than the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have already died, and the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are about to die, as a direct consequence of your pro-COVID position.
When people say the Republican party is now a nihilistic death cult this is not hyperbole: this is a simple statement of fact. It’s the kind of fact that can’t be acknowledged, or indeed even recognized, by respectable people, because doing so might require some sort of commensurate response on their part.
So one of the ways of avoiding that is reading something like the statement from the White House press conference on COVID and just missing the fact that it is in fact a deeply controversial statement. And it is deeply controversial because one of our two major political parties is in favor of the COVID pandemic continuing, rather than in favor of doing anything to try to help end it.