By Jim Geraghty, National Review
Back in early August National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins went on national television and told parents to wear masks around their unvaccinated children: “For kids under twelve, that they avoid being in places where they might get infected, which means recommendations of mask-wearing in schools and at home. Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this, and the recommendation is to wear masks there as well. I know that’s uncomfortable. I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids.” (Collins walked back his statement later in the day.)
Sunday on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Dr. Anthony Fauci didn’t say that parents should wear masks around unvaccinated children . . . but he seemed to say that other relatives ought to just stay away from those kids, at least indoors:
BRENNAN: Do people need to start looking around and saying it’s just too risky to gather with family members if there are unvaccinated children?
FAUCI: Well, Margaret, I believe just the way the CDC has recommended, that when you are in a situation where you have the dynamics of virus in the community where there’s clearly a lot of spread, even if you are vaccinated and you are in an indoor setting, a congregate setting, it just makes sense to wear a mask and to avoid high-risk situations.
Like I said after Collins’s statement, we have public-health advice that is well-suited for programmable robots but destined to cause friction among actual human beings. This is the 21st month of the pandemic, if you start counting from January 2020. Whether Fauci realizes it or not, he is effectively telling Americans that getting vaccinated does not help them get their lives back to normal. Lots of American already gave up one Halloween, one Thanksgiving, and one Christmas. What’s more, 77.6 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, 75.8 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and 64.8 percent of all Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. That last figure includes 50 million American children who can’t get vaccinated right now and won’t get the chance until the end of this month at the earliest.
But Fauci doesn’t want anyone making any big holiday plans:
BRENNAN: But we can gather for Christmas, or it’s just too soon to tell?
FAUCI: You know, Margaret, it’s just too soon to tell. We’ve just got to — concentrating on continuing to get those numbers down. . . .
FAUCI: . . . and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time. Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also, in the situation where boosters are appropriate, to get people boosted, because we know that they can help greatly in diminishing infection and diminishing advanced disease, the kinds of data that are now accumulating in real time.
I notice Fauci is mentioning cases, when we’ve discussed, time and again, that a case is not necessarily a person getting sick. A case is a person testing positive.
Hey, wasn’t there some guy running around the country late last year promising, “I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus”?
Whatever happened to that guy?