Perspectives
January 12, 2022 | By Dan O’Donnell
Policy Issues
Accountable Government Healthcare

A New COVID Narrative for the New Year

Dan O’Donnell notices something, well, different about the way elected Democrats, public health officials, and the media have been discussing the pandemic since the start of 2022.

A new year is always a source of renewed optimism, but the first few days of 2022 have felt even more hopeful. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, policymakers and public health officials alike are talking openly about its end.

“We have seen now that this is likely to become an endemic disease here in the United States, and really around the world,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said recently. “We have many diseases that are endemic. Influenza being one of them. They cause us minor challenges year after year that we can handle and tackle. That may very well be what happens with COVID.”

This should be cause for celebration, since it was only nine months ago that Walensky was openly advocating shutting down the State of Michigan because of an outbreak there.

“The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer, and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test the extent that we have available to contact trace,” she said last April.

New year, new Rochelle, apparently. Whereas in 2021 she was advocating for the closure of schools to stop the spread of the virus, on Tuesday she testified that “schools should be the first places to open and the last places to close.”

Even members of the media and left-leaning pundits are starting to admit that most of the people “hospitalized with COVID” over the past 21 months weren’t actually hospitalized with COVID at all.

All across the country—even in its bluest corridors—there is renewed faith that schools can safely remain open. Even Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who famously threatened to arrest and jail anyone who violated her city’s lockdown order, stared down the Chicago Teachers Union and forced it to cease its demand for a return to virtual learning.

“Remote learning had [a devastating impact] on our children and on their families,” she said in an interview with CNBC this week. “We know that learning loss was profound. We know that there were huge gaps in achievement. We know that the mental health and trauma issues of our students was real. And we know that it was devastating for family, particularly those families where the parents couldn’t afford not to work.”

What an amazing new perspective in the new year! Everyone, it seems, is starting to have hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us and, really, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it was. Even members of the media and left-leaning pundits are starting to admit that most of the people “hospitalized with COVID” over the past 21 months weren’t actually hospitalized with COVID at all.

“When people read that headline that hospitalizations are up 80 percent but at the same time all sorts of people in hospitals who are testing positive aren’t there for Covid, they are there for other reasons,” explained MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday.

“Yeah, so say you are a cancer patient, like some of my patients, you then, you know, might get COVID, but you are in because you need surgery or because you need chemotherapy or for some other reason,” answered her guest, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, an MSNBC medical analyst. “So you’re positive for COVID but that’s not bringing you in, it’s not causing symptoms, it’s not causing serious illness.”

This suggestion would never have been uttered on cable news just a few months ago, but this is 2022—the year of hope! Even New York Governor Kathy Hochul is pledging to differentiate between those hospitalized “with” COVID and “from” COVID.

“I’ve always wondered, when we’re looking at the hospitalizations, people testing positive in a hospital, is that person in the hospital because of COVID or did they show up there and are routinely tested and showing positive, they may have been an asymptomatic or even just had the sniffles?” she asked during a press conference last week. “I just want to always be honest with New Yorkers about how bad this is. Yes, the numbers, the sheer numbers of people infected are high, but I want to see whether not the hospitalizations correlate with that. And I’m anticipating that at least a certain percentage overall are not related to being treated for COVID.”

This is an amazing about-face, as it will finally allow the public to see just how many of the millions of COVID hospitalizations weren’t actually COVID hospitalizations. Next thing you know, public health officials will start admitting that many of the people who died with COVID-19 had significant comorbidities that likely contributed to their deaths.

It’s an election year and Democrats ran last time on a promise to “shut down the virus.”

Wait a minute, Rochelle Walensky actually did! What a wonderful year 2022 is turning out to be!

While discussing the deaths of vaccinated individuals, she said on Sunday that “the overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with.”

Just incredible! It’s like everyone’s New Year’s resolution was to be more honest and less hyperbolic about the pandemic as we gradually come to the realization that we can and should safely return to normal life. But what, one wonders, might have spurred such a sudden change? It couldn’t just be the new year, could it?

Oh wait, it’s an election year and Democrats ran last time on a promise to “shut down the virus.” That explains it.

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