Last Thursday, President Biden announced his “COVID-19 Winter Plan.” Despite his claim that it will fight the disease with “science and speed,” it ignores virtually everything scientists have learned about coronavirus during the past two years. Indeed, it contains a number of elements that epidemiologists have denounced and that evidence has proven counterproductive. These include an irrational emphasis on vaccinating low risk children, the promotion of booster shots that the World Health Organization (WHO) has pronounced ineffective, travel bans that could very well jeopardize efforts to contain future outbreaks, and strident calls for private businesses to bully their employees into getting vaccinated.
During his introduction of the plan, Biden insisted: “Vaccinating our children is critical to keeping our schools open. But while over 99 percent of schools are open now, we need to make sure we keep that throughout the winter — this winter.” He went on to say his administration would expand efforts to vaccinate children ages 5 and up. It is difficult to think of a more scientifically illiterate policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the virus is responsible for the deaths of 200 children aged 5 to 14 between 01-01-2020 and 11-27-2021. This is tragic, of course, but statistically negligible. Nature recently published an analysis of several studies that unequivically confirm the infinitesimal COVID-19 mortality rate among school-aged children:
Of 3,105 deaths from all causes among the 12 million or so people under 18 in England between March 2020 and February 2021, 25 were attributable to COVID-19 — a rate of about 2 for every million people in this age range. None had asthma or type-1 diabetes, the authors note, and about half had conditions that put them at a higher risk than healthy children of dying from any cause.
Why, then, would the latest Biden plan put so much emphasis on such a low risk segment of the population? This is clearly the result of pressure by the teachers’ unions upon which the Democrats depend so heavily for campaign cash. In a recent online panel, the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten and the head of the Massachusetts AFT discussed their effort to “put in the heads of all the kids” the necessity of getting vaccinated. This is not only creepy, it contradicts the opinions of prominent epidemiologists. Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, make a cogent case against vaccinating children in the Hill:
First, all medical interventions should pass the test of providing more benefits than risks. For the COVID vaccine, this is decidedly true for older populations … For younger adults and children, it is a different story, as their mortality risk is extremely low. Even a slight risk of a serious vaccine adverse reaction could tip the benefit-risk calculation, making the vaccine more harmful than beneficial.
The second worst feature of Biden’s COVID-19 Winter Plan is its scientifically incoherent push to assure that “all adults” get booster shots. This, like the weird push to vaccinate young children, has no basis in science. According to WHO officials, there is no objective data supporting the claim that giving fully vaccinated people such shots will provide protection against COVID-19 or its variants. Dr. Michael Ryan, the organization’s health emergency director, emphatically pointed this out during a virtual press conference on Dec. 1: “Right now, there is no evidence that I’m aware of that would suggest that boosting the entire population is going to necessarily provide any greater protection for otherwise healthy individuals against hospitalization or death.”
WHO scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan echoed Ryan’s point: “I just want to reiterate what was just said, that our goal should be really to protect those who have not yet received their primary course of vaccination.” Also, as the New York Times reports, “W.H.O. officials said the bans on southern African countries by the United States and European countries would impede efforts to combat the variant since biological samples could not be transported out of those countries.” Moreover, because the plan calls for “stronger health protocols for safe international travel,” Biden has opened himself to charges of hypocrisy, even from normally sympathetic observers like Juan Williams, who admitted the following during a recent interview with Guy Benson:
I think that you’re right on this. I think that if you call somebody xenophobic and then you pursue the same path, you open yourself up for a big right hand punch to the nose.… I think that President Biden is ripe for criticism on this because he was pretty clear.… I think the larger point is if you criticize something and then do it yourself, get ready for the other team to score points.
In addition to the strange push to vaccinate school children, foist booster shots on the fully vaccinated and the counterproductive travel bans, Biden’s plan encourages businesses to ignore the legal defeats his various vaccination mandates have encountered: “The President will call on businesses to move forward expeditiously with requiring their workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly.” This won’t slow the spread of the virus—the vaccinated can contract and spread COVID-19—but it will further distort an already-disrupted job market. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, “More than a third (37%) of unvaccinated workers (5% of adults overall) say they would leave their job if their employer required them to get a vaccine or get tested weekly.”
It has by now become obvious to all but the willfully blind that neither the President nor any of his “expert” advisors has a clue how to fulfill Biden’s 2020 promise to the voters that he would end the pandemic if elected. Moreover, the ridiculous “COVID-19 Winter Plan” highlights how little they have learned during the subsequent year. Consequently, public approval concerning Biden’s handling of the issue has plummeted and it is unlikely to recover. This will, in turn, render next year’s midterm environment even more brutal for the Democrats than is already expected. And, if the White House and congressional Democrats attempt to save themselves by fomenting fear pursuant to the Omicron variant, public reaction will not be kind. The voters are on to them, and they have had enough.
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