President Biden was elected in great part for his campaign’s unwavering attention to COVID-19 and his promises to end the pandemic. Candidate Biden was relentless in his attack on President Trump and along with a news media all too happy to make the name Mr. Trump synonymous with coronavirus, literally blamed the old administration for every COVID related death.
As the Democratic nominee, Mr. Biden chided his opponent at every opportunity. “This is a national emergency. President Trump doesn’t have a real plan for opening schools safely. He’s offering nothing but failures and delusions.” In an October speech Mr. Biden promised to “immediately put in place a national strategy that will position our country to finally get ahead of this virus and get back our lives.”
During a press briefing this past week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlined the Biden plan for how to deal with the reopening of schools. She said the new White House goal was “to have the majority of schools, so more than 50 percent, open by day 100 of his presidency.” She went on to define open as meaning “some teaching in classrooms, so at least one day a week, hopefully it’s more.” Fifty percent? One day a week?
According to the Biden administration’s definition of open schools, Team Trump exceeded the 60% threshold last fall. Is the current resident’s press secretary telling us that the Biden plan hopes to have 10% less fewer children in the classroom than the very Trump plan they chastised during the campaign?
One of President Biden’s go-to speech lines is how important it is to follow the science. He repeats it over and over. Follow the science. Follow the science. What does the science say about children and COVID-19?
According to a recent study done by researchers at the University of Haifa, people under the age of 20 are about half as susceptible to COVID-19 as older age groups and are less likely to infect others.
The American Council on Science and Health recently published COVID Infection Fatality Rates by sex and age. The statistics are essential to know the real risk associated with COVID-19. Traditional media frequently covers the number of people contracting COVID-19, but spends precious little time explaining the likelihood of serious health consequences or death as a result. Generic fear fills the void left by the lack of factual information.
Kids infected with COVID-19 are by far the least likely to suffer any impact. According to worldwide statistics, children from newborn to age 19 have a 2-in-100,000 chance of dying. Put another way, the science says that while not every child will be infected, among those who actually contract the coronavirus, 99,998 of 100,000 infected school age children will be just fine. To the two families that lose a child, it is devastating, but as scientific data, the number is statistically insignificant.
If the mantra is to “follow the science,” every school in America should be open with classrooms full of students. That, however, would require the cooperation of teachers and the teachers unions, big Biden supporters, have little interest in returning to bricks and mortar schools. Despite being offered front-of-the-line spots for vaccinations, the unions still object to going back, and apparently they have Mr. Biden’s ear. That’s not science, that’s politics.
The new president’s failure to adhere to his own suggestion of following the science isn’t limited to the classroom either. Citing concerns over the widespread proliferation of COVID-19 variants, Mr. Biden said he might have to prohibit domestic vehicle and air traffic until the CDC and NIH were confident that currently available vaccinations had a proven efficacy against emerging strains. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the idea an “appropriate measure.”
The problem with basing this economy crippling suggestion on the perception of “widespread proliferation,” however, is that the latest scientific data doesn’t support it. From their high numbers in early January, cases are down 56%; positive percentage is down 51%; hospital census is down 35%; ICU census is down 28%; deaths are down 16%. Virtually every region of the country is falling by every statistical measure. All down despite no domestic travel ban.
Follow the science, Joe.
During the campaign, candidate Joe pledged to “seek out governors and mayors and other leaders of both parties, from every state, territory and tribe, and consult with education, technology, business and labor leaders” because his team would be “ready to hit the ground running and fight the virus as our next president.”
In early January, MSN published a gushing piece about Mr. Biden and his pledge to turn things around with the virus. The piece started with “When Joe Biden is sworn-in as president of the United States, it will mark the beginning of a new era in the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans will notice the difference on day one.”
The real difference came on day three. While still a candidate, the president claimed to have a plan to beat the coronavirus. He literally said that “the trajectory of COVID-19 in America is headed in the wrong direction” and made clear that a vote for him was the path to fix it. Forty-eight hours after being sworn in as president, Joe Biden sang a remarkably different tune. “There’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” Apparently the science changed in the two days following his swearing in.
The science can’t be stressed enough.
Those same statistics cited by the American Council on Science and Health show the risk of death is so minimal that no rational government would close down its entire economy.
Of every 100,000 children between age 5 and 14 who tests positive for COVID-19, one may die. A 29-year-old who contracts COVID has a .013 of one percent chance they will die. The president should be sharing those numbers with America. If anyone dies it is a tragedy, but these numbers don’t warrant closing society. If they did we’d ban automobiles and potato chips.
The powers that be have to be seen as taking action. If closing down the economy isn’t the answer, what is? One need look no further than the very science provided by a 2019 CDC report to get the logical, reasonable answer.
The CDC website itself reported the findings of a 2019 CDC co-authored study published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases. Specifically, it reported that people 85 years and older are much more likely to be hospitalized and die from flu than adults 65 to 74 years old and confirmed that H3N2 flu viruses were particularly dangerous to older people. Furthermore, all seniors over 65 far outpaced the population at large in fatality rates.
I am not suggesting COVID-19 is just the flu. What I am suggesting is that the groups being impacted are very much the same. The response then, should be similar as well.
The following is taken directly from the CDC in 2019. “While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. Approximately 90% of influenza-related deaths and 50-70% of influenza-related hospitalizations occur among people in this age group. Because of their increased risk, older adults are a priority group for vaccination.” The CDC recognized that people under 65 got the flu and sadly that some of those younger victims died. Statistically speaking, however, the numbers jumped dramatically with seniors and even more with the truly elderly. Sound familiar?
The breakdown of those statistics is alarmingly similar to COVID-19 statistics. According to the COVID numbers, if you’re between the ages of 45 and 50, 121 people out of every 100,000 who test positive may die. If you are from 35 to 40 years old, that number drops to 40 out of every 100,000 infected. It continues to drop even more the younger the group. When these numbers popped up for the flu in 2019, the CDC recommended vaccination specifically focused on seniors and also offered it to anyone else as requested. For reasons unknown, they are not applying the same logic now despite the similar statistical information.
The science says the likelihood of death is negligible. The science says a laser focus on those most at risk, which the science further indicates is determined in great part by age, while allowing the rest of society to function, makes complete sense.
The science is available, clear and undeniable. All Joe Biden has to do is follow it.
Sadly, Mr. Biden’s demonstrated predilection toward fear rather than science could mean years of unnecessary unpleasantness for Americans from coast to coast. While touting the fact the United States expects to have 300 million vaccinations done by this summer, Mr. Biden said he intended, and urged everyone else to join him in wearing a mask at all times at least into 2022. That’s a long way from “15 days to flatten the curve.” It’s even a long way from Mr. Biden’s initial presidential plan to “mask up for 100 days.”
Keep in mind Mr. Biden has already received the vaccine. Literally, every human that comes in contact with him is tested and retested, yet he told reporters during a visit to the National Institutes of Health complex that he would not take his mask off at the podium to speak even though he was standing more than 10 feet away from Dr. Anthony Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins and more than 30 feet from anyone else. Science? More like showtime.
Couple Mr. Biden‘s ever-changing goal posts with the fact that in January Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said of his company’s vaccine, “We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years.” Potentially for a couple of years? Maybe less.
So if Joe Biden takes us into 2022 wearing masks and the vaccine is expected by the very company making it to wear off by 2023, when can we really expect the mask wearing and economic shut downs to end? What science is the Biden administration actually following? He promised the country he had a plan. He obviously doesn’t. He promised the country he’d follow the science. He clearly isn’t.
COVID-19 is real. People really are dying. But businesses are dying too. By the millions. Jobs are disappearing. People are losing their homes and going hungry. Children are missing irreplaceable years of school. Mental health is being strained. Suicides, depression and anxiety are all at record numbers. President Biden’s entire campaign was based on his ability to fix it, based on the science.
The science is clear that shutting down the world isn’t fixing it. In fact science indicates it’s doing more harm. The science produced by the CDC shows statistics of who is most at risk and how they have successfully addressed very similar statistics in the past. That same CDC trumpeted the success of their strategy in 2019. Why wouldn’t we use that same strategy now?
Fear is an amazing emotion. It immobilizes people. In the case of COVID-19, fear has not only immobilized individuals, it has immobilized the government and in turn, the economy. COVID-19 is terrible and should not be ignored, but it must be addressed with science, not fear. Thus far President Biden has failed in that effort. His response has been choreographed for show rather than based on any real science or designed for actual results.
America should fear his shameless empty political theater even more than the virus itself.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.