We Should Be Relieved, Not Panicked

There were fewer COVID deaths during the entire MONTH of July than a given DAY in January

Shifting rules, perpetual panic further discredits public health authorities, and that’s a problem

Raleigh, N.C. — Fewer North Carolinians died from COVID during the entire month of July than on a single given day in January. That’s because vaccines work, and most of the people at highest risk of death got the vaccine.

That’s cause for relief. But all we’re getting from public health authorities are shifting rules and perpetual panic.

The CDC offers more consistent guidance on consuming raw cookie dough than on masks. That’s a problem and here’s why: If the CDC erodes its credibility on masks, then it risks eroding its credibility on the far more important message of vaccines.

Here are some truths that the public deserves to hear:

  • Fewer North Carolinians have died from COVID during the entire month of July than on these single days in January: Jan. 1; Jan. 4; Jan. 11; Jan. 12; Jan. 15; Jan. 18; Jan. 19; Jan. 20; Jan. 27.
  • Today, six months after the COVID vaccine was released, 80% of people over 65 — those most at risk — are fully vaccinated. That’s a much better result than we saw with previous vaccines to address public health crises.
  • Getting a vaccine is the single most effective measure to counter COVID. A vaccine dramatically reduces risk of infection, serious illness, and death.
  • The reality is COVID is going to be here for years.
  • Healthy children, whether vaccinated or not, face more risk from the flu than from COVID.
  • Masks provide much, much less protection than vaccines.

The whiplash on mask “guidance” from the CDC may have the perverse effect of discouraging vaccination.

President Joe Biden said just two months ago, “If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Let me repeat: If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”

Two months later, the CDC is saying the opposite. That erodes credibility, and risks undermining and distracting from the far more important message on vaccines.

Public health “authorities” are keeping us in a perpetual state of panic and constantly undermining their own advice. Where does this end? If the goal is “no COVID,” then it may never end. Maybe that’s the point, but that’s not a tenable state of affairs.

And the strategy for vaccine hesitancy has apparently shifted to shaming and nonsense political attacks (e.g., “as the delta variant spreads and cases begin to rise again, the Republicans continue to provide cover for the virus”). Right.

That’s probably the only strategy that will be less effective than the whiplash we’re getting right now.

Here’s what authorities should do: Encourage and promote vaccination; give people accurate and consistent information about spread, viral load, and fatalities; and understand that the likely reaction to the current fear-mongering is resistance.