The incoherent handling of COVID

Reno Gazette Journal August 8, 2021

Last week, the CDC reversed its mask policy and issued a recommendation that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors in areas with substantial and high COVID transmission rates. California’s Governor Newsom followed suit. Just hours later, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak took the CDC recommendation and turned it into his most recent mask mandate

The mask edicts have been replete with inconsistencies from the beginning. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has often pushed masking has gone back and forth on the topic several times as you can see from this video compilation. Passengers are required to stand six feet apart at the airline counter only to be packed into an airplane inches away from each other’s faces just minutes later. We see athletes in contact sports sitting on the bench with a mask, only to enter the game where they play without a mask, sweat splashing on each other’s faces. Last summer, we saw BLM protests where crowds of protestors were marching without masks. The same “experts”  who were critical of people who were reluctant to wear masks were suddenly arguing that social justice matters more than social distancing. None of this presents a consistent and convincing message to the broader population.

On top of the inconsistencies, there’s the blatant hypocrisy. Fauci was caught without a mask at a baseball game. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (who recently called Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a moron for opposing the mask mandate) was photographed without a mask at the Capitol Building. Previously, the Speaker was also caught without a mask in a security camera footage at a San Francisco salon while an earlier mask mandate was in force. California Governor Gavin Newsom was caught without a mask at an exclusive restaurant (reports suggest the bar tab alone was $15,000!). Just last week, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a mask mandate and partied without a mask right after. Here in Nevada, last June Governor Sisolak was photographed without a mask while the state was under a mask mandate.

Then there is the politicization of government agencies. The CDC last September issued an eviction moratorium. Whatever your opinions may be on the issue of eviction, for CDC to issue an eviction moratorium is way beyond its remit. In addition to that, CDC was also caught in another controversy when a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request revealed that the agency incorporated language from the Teacher’s Unions in its guidance for school re-openings. Another example of such politicization is the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, IHME. The IHME tracks COVID data among other things and felt the need to proclaim that “Racism is a public health issue” and declare its support for Black Lives Matter. Their job is to collect data and create visualizations, why the foray into politics? Politics is divisive and when reputable organizations get into politics, their credibility becomes questionable.

One final point: We were told nearly a year and a half ago, the restrictions were to flatten the curve and manage hospital capacity. Just two months back, vaccines are effective, get vaccinated and you don’t have to wear a mask, said the President. If you are vaccinated, you cannot spread the virus, said the CDC. We have reached a vaccination rate of 70% and what is the end game? Things seem to change on a frequent basis. I am all for science evolving (except climate science, which is clearly “settled”, but that’s a topic for a different time), but this is science zig zagging. The response to COVID at both the federal and the state levels is just as incoherent as a sentence put together by President Biden.