WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance on mask wearing, with director Rochelle Walensky announcing there to be effectively no need for those who have already been administered the COVID-19 vaccine to wear masks in public.
This comparatively recent development sluggishly comes on the heels of months-old data overwhelmingly suggesting transmission of COVID among the vaccinated population to be exceptionally low. This is also common sense – vaccinated people pose virtually no threat of transmitting lethal cases of COVID to one another.
This is something that people on the right, including myself, have suggested to have been the case for months – however, the federal government only seemed to recognize this after it became politically convenient for them, almost as if to throw Americans a bone as a cynical means of distraction from the socioeconomic toll being taken by team Biden’s policies.
Regardless of how cynical this may be, this is, at least in principle, the correct approach to COVID messaging. The driving force behind people wanting to get vaccinated is largely a desire to expedite a return to normalcy. If the federal government wishes to incentivize vaccination, a clearly outlined fast-tracking of unmasking and relaxation of protective measures for the vaccinated is effectively the only policy that makes sense.
This is not to suggest, however, that newly-adopted COVID messaging by Democrats is by any means infallible – the false dichotomy being established by the mantra of “get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do” is little more than an anti-scientific slogan that continues to display their disregard for the actual public health effects of masking.
This development also acts in stark contrast to previous sentiment expressed by the Biden administration and the perpetually execrable Dr. Anthony Fauci, who just weeks ago emphasized the need for continued masking and physical distancing even after vaccination, which only emboldened the narrative being pushed forward by Democrats nationwide that governors lifting mandates in any capacity were preemptively guilty of mass homicide.
While all of this objectively failed to make sense – again, due to the virtual nonissue of health risks posed by the virus after vaccination – this also proved itself to have been a sizable PR blunder. Again, the primary incentive for mass vaccination was an expedited return to normalcy. Instead, what people like Biden and Fauci suggested was that vaccination was irrelevant to the timeline of relaxation of COVID restrictions, and that a return to normalcy would only be plausible after an unspecified majority of Americans had been vaccinated.
For obvious reasons, this disincentivizes vaccination. Again, the primary motivation Americans see to get vaccinated is that a drastically reduced risk of contracting and dying from the virus should inherently serve as a path – at least on the level of the individual – to being able to disregard tired restrictions and guidelines whose novelty and credibility wore away at some point in the middle of last spring.
Once incentives are considered, it is abundantly clear as to why vaccination rates have failed to rise at the rate at which they should be, and why Americans, particularly in more conservative and rural areas of the country, are demonstrably hesitant about vaccination. The incentive was there, and its legitimacy was then denied by politicians spouting pseudoscience – the drop-off in vaccinations should be a surprise to effectively no one.
The Biden administration’s treatment of the COVID narrative is demonstrative of how politics has overrun our public health infrastructure (however, this would imply that the concept of a public health infrastructure was ever apolitical to begin with), and how incompetence for the sake of bad policy and insipid virtue signaling has managed to undermine any remaining faith in it that there was to be had. And while the administration has finally backtracked and stumbled into unfamiliar territory – coherency in its narratives – this was only realized after President Biden, Rochelle Walensky’s CDC, and nearly every public health expert making the rounds in mainstream media spent months denying the plainly obvious at the expense of the very thing they allegedly sought to promote – mass vaccination and some degree of purported normalcy.