Monday, April 19, 2021

Team Blue Should End Its Unhealthy Obsession With COVID-19 Panic Porn

By Robby Soave - April 19, 2021 at 09:38AM


A month and a half ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted all statewide COVID-19 restrictions, prompting widespread panic from many Democrats—including President Joe Biden—as well as unofficial members of Team Blue within the mainstream media and public health establishment. Liberals confidently predicted that the masks were coming off way too soon, and COVID-19 would swiftly make a comeback in the Lone Star State.

Well, nope: COVID-19 deaths and cases continue to fall in Texas, even without a mask mandate or capacity restrictions on businesses. The same is broadly true of Florida, which relaxed its restrictions all the way back in September and has managed to weather the pandemic more successfully than super locked down states like New York and California.

This is good news! It's more evidence that warmer weather does make it harder to spread COVID-19—in large part because the heat and sunshine allow people to socialize outdoors, where there is a significantly lower risk of transmission. It also shows that the vaccines are working. Fully vaccinated people are essentially immune from serious disease or death, and according to the latest data, they are very unlikely to carry or transmit COVID-19 at all. The message to the unvaccinated should be: Go get vaccinated. The message to the vaccinated should be: Rejoice! You can go back to normal life.

But the frustrating truth of the matter is that Team Blue doesn't want to hear this. Many people—predominantly liberals—who claim to Follow the Science and Trust the Experts no matter what are nevertheless captivated by pandemic panic porn. By asserting, for instance, that social distancing and masks should be mandatory even for the vaccinated, they bizarrely fixate on the minuscule risk of post-vaccination infection.

Masks have been an important tool in slowing the course of the pandemic. There's a strong case to be made that the unvaccinated should still wear them when they gather in large numbers in indoor spaces. But there's never been a particularly good reason to require masks outdoors, and that's doubly true for the vaccinated. Could a vaccinated person suffer a breakthrough infection, and then spread the disease during outdoor contact to an unvaccinated person who gets very sick or dies? Yes, it's theoretically possible, but we're starting to get into hit-by-lightning chances here. In no other context would we accept that this level of safety is insufficient.

On his show over the weekend, HBO's Bill Maher delivered a terrific monologue on the subject of COVID-19 paranoia among Team Blue. Maher referenced a fascinating December 2020 survey result from Gallup that found Democrats wildly overestimated the odds that someone who contracts the virus will need to be hospitalized. Some 41 percent of Democrats thought the hospitalization rate was higher than 50 percent—in reality, it's between 1 and 5 percent.

"If the right-wing media bubble has to own things like climate change denial, shouldn't liberal media have to answer for how did your audience wind up believing such a bunch of crap about COVID?" asked Maher.

Whenever I tweet that post-vaccination outdoor masking is unnecessary, I am inundated with hostile feedback from liberals who stridently assert that the performance is important because it sends the right message and puts other people at ease. Well, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) probably puts some people at ease, too—but it shouldn't, because removing our shoes and belts before we get on a plane doesn't make us any safer at all. The TSA is a massive waste of time, money, and energy, and the American people have put up with it for more than 20 years. If we don't want pandemic restrictions to become the new airport security, there needs to be pushback: Get vaccinated, and then get back to normal.


Facebook drew criticism for preventing users from sharing a New York Post story about a Black Lives Matter founder's considerable property holdings. The move was reminiscent of Twitter's move to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story. According to the Post:

This decision is so arbitrary as to be laughable. Does Facebook know how many newspapers, magazines and Web sites highlight the real estate purchases of the rich and famous? The next time People magazine covers Kim Kardashian's latest mansion purchase, will it violate any community standards? How about running a picture of the resort Ted Cruz is staying at?


The economy is picking up steam, according to The New York Times:

First-quarter earnings season picks up steam this week, with analysts expecting that profits for S&P 500 companies rose roughly 27 percent in the three months through March, compared with a year earlier when the pandemic sent corporate earnings into a tailspin.

Companies such as Coca-Cola, United Airlines, Netflix, AT&T and American Express all slated to issue results this week, offering a relatively well-rounded look at the state of corporate America in the early days of what could be a powerful year for the U.S. economy. It might also help set expectations for the stock market, after a big rally already this year.


• The trial of Derek Chauvin is reaching the endgame: Both sides will present their closing arguments beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Monday.

• A verdict could prompt NBA teams to postpone their games.

• Minneapolis schools plan to close later this week as well.

• Planned Parenthood has apologized for founder Margaret Sanger's association with white supremacist groups and eugenics.

• Former President Donald Trump supports Biden's decision to bring back the rest of the troops from Afghanistan.

• Top COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci said that gun violence is a public health issue.

• Here's what Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D–Ariz.) was up to this weekend:

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