The CDC Wants You To Mask Up Again
Bureaucrats need the pandemic to be permanent
In The Spectator, I write on the permanent pandemic promoters:
The permanent pandemic posture extends beyond the openly partisan to the bureaucratic class as well. The CDC’s Rochelle Walensky, in an interview with NPR yesterday, sounded as if she was still in her mindset of “impending doom” from a year and a half ago, issuing the same kind of White Walker-style warnings we heard on the eve of 2021’s “winter of death” — a winter which, incidentally, never came.
“We have always said… that we wanted you to put your masks away, not to throw your masks out,” Walensky chided listeners. “There is a lot of infection in the community, that there’s a lot of severe disease coming into the hospital and that many of the beds in the hospitals are really now occupied by people with Covid-19. So to protect communities in those circumstances at those high levels, we have recommended and continue to recommend that those communities wear masks.”
The NPR reporter responded with a litany of invitations to engage in even greater extremism about what she branded the “tripledemic” (we have a new scary name for people getting sick around the holidays — how cute!). She pressed Walensky on why the CDC wasn’t using more “forceful messaging,” whatever that means, asking: “why isn’t the CDC more strongly recommending masking in public places right now” and whether Walensky herself would recommend “personally masking up at the supermarket or just avoiding large gatherings in general.”
To the last question, Walensky responded with recommendations that could have been taken from the height of Covid fearmongering: stay home, open windows, increase ventilation, wear a mask at large gatherings, get tested before you gather, and so on and so forth forever and ever Amen.
Resisting the permanent pandemic posture will require two things: people willing to actually reject the nonsense behind policies and rules long proven to have been of little to no use in practice, and leaders who will reject the emergency claims of policy prescriptions that were never actually about preventing illness or responding to real needs.
We must call out the obvious stupidity of going down the same ridiculous path we did when CNN was running the death ticker and teachers were holding kids hostage for taxpayer-funded ransoms. It will require living your life without shoving something up your nose before you can go to a Christmas party.
An example of such leadership is found in the response of outgoing North Carolina Republican senator Richard Burr, who has a bipartisan measure along with Washington Democratic senator Patty Murray that would, among other things, require Senate confirmation of future CDC directors, a step that Walensky has denounced as representing “the politicization of CDC at the time.” When asked about Walensky’s concerns, Burr offered the proper response: “Tough shit.”
Recess From Responsibility
In 2018 I had a painfully shy sixth grade student who could not respond to questions such as “When is your birthday?” or “What is your sister’s name?” She knew the answers but struggled to retrieve the words she needed, so she would anxiously say, “I don’t know,” or simply look away. Over the next year and a half, through a great deal of effort and hard work, she gained confidence, learned how to hold a basic conversation, and started to make friends.
The following school year, on March 13, 2020, California’s public schools closed. When she returned in person in April 2021, I found that she had lost most of the social and verbal progress she had made. As she prepared to go to high school she was again struggling to talk to both students and adults and could not answer simple questions. When she did manage to muster up a few words, her voice was muffled by her mask and no one could understand what she was saying.
Another one of my students had consistent attendance in sixth and seventh grades, but in eighth grade stopped attending his online classes entirely. Virtual learning had stripped school of the elements that were compelling to him—socialization, community, and extracurriculars. He ran away from home multiple times and ended up going to juvenile hall.
I had a student with autism who used to draw constantly all over his schoolwork and was the best artist his age I had ever met. During remote learning he stopped drawing and started to spend more time on his phone. Even after he returned to school in person, his mom told me that he was still not drawing; he now exclusively wanted to play video games. I had a student who was homeless and sometimes attended Zoom class from a tent, a student who was removed from her primary guardian’s house due to abuse during lockdown, and multiple students who exhibited signs of depression. Kids told me on a regular basis that they really wanted to see their friends again and asked, “When will we be able to go back to school?” or “When will COVID be over?”
All of my students were children of color in a special education program run by the Oakland Unified School District, and were from some of the poorest zip codes in Oakland, California. School closures permanently altered the trajectory of their lives. In March 2021, one of my former students was fatally shot. From my perspective, there was a chance he might not have been if schools had been open. He needed structure, a sense of purpose, and a place to go every day. Instead, school closures sent him the message that his future and his life did not matter.
I had been advocating for school reopening since the summer of 2020, but this incident confirmed to me that the damage done to some kids was irreparable. There was simply no coming back from it.
While my students were experiencing these significant hardships, schools in most of Europe and in many U.S. states had already successfully reopened. Bars, restaurants, and gyms in California opened in January 2021, and local private schools were offering in-person instruction. Nearby in wealthy Marin County, public schools reopened crucial special education services in May 2020. My students wouldn’t get the chance to be back in school until almost a year later.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post were publishing pieces on “The racist effects of school reopening during the pandemic – by a teacher,” “Can we stop telling ‘COVID kids’ how little they are learning?” “Does it hurt children to measure pandemic learning loss?” and “Actually wearing a mask can help kids learn.” Today, these outlets regularly publish pieces detailing the damage done by school closures, and they admit that the most vulnerable students incurred the heaviest losses.
When I criticized school closures over two years ago, I had my job and credentials threatened by strangers, lost most of my friends, and was generally treated as morally or intellectually deficient. So it’s difficult to describe the sense of whiplash I feel now seeing the harms caused by closures treated as self-evident by the very individuals and organizations that promoted this policy.
Currently, entire urban school systems are plagued by high rates of chronic absence, dismal test scores, and student violence. Pediatric hospitals are still seeing enormous surges in mental health emergencies and suicidal thoughts. Over a million students have left U.S. public schools and enrollment may continue to decline. The policy of school closures was not a one-year event—it broke the already fragile American public education system and initiated a tailspin of profound and worsening dysfunction among children and adolescents.
Despite this, not a single official or politician responsible has resigned, apologized, or been held accountable in any way. There is also a complete lack of self-reflection among the experts who pushed for this disaster and normalized remote learning. On Nov. 27, 2022, when asked on Face the Nation if we should expect more closures, Dr. Anthony Fauci answered “I don’t know … I’m not sure,” and said that school districts could decide locally based on community transmission levels. In the absence of any accountability, Fauci is still supporting this harmful and unproven approach.
How Covid Drove Democratic Success
How progressives moved into red states.
Now there is evidence that the demographic change spurred by Republicans’ and Democrats’ divergent responses to the pandemic likely cost Republicans a number of key seats in the 2022 midterms. And the fallout, fueled by cross-country migration and even the Covid death toll, could linger into 2024 and beyond.
Data from the U.S. Postal Service and Census Bureau shows how the pandemic drove urban professionals who were able to work remotely — disproportionately Democrats — out of coastal, progressive cities to seek more space or recreational amenities in the nation’s suburbs and Sun Belt. This moved liberals out of electoral districts where Democrats reliably won by large margins into many purple regions that had the potential to swing with just small changes to the map…
Some of the tightest Senate races took place in Nevada and Arizona, states that the Census Bureau found attracted some of the greatest population growth.
In one of the most watched 2022 races, Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — an ardent election denier and so-called Trump in heels — was expected to narrowly defeat Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. FiveThirtyEight simulations gave her 2-to-1 odds and a 2.2-point margin.
But Arizona’s most populous region, Maricopa County gained nearly 100,000 people since 2018, and Democrats’ margins rose by 17 points since that year. Lake lost by just 17,000 votes.
Pima County, which includes Tucson, gained 16,000 people and its margins in the gubernatorial race swung 16 points for Democrats since 2018. It also gave a scare to Republican House candidate Juan Ciscomani, who FiveThirtyEight gave a 93 percent chance of victory and a 9.4 percent projected margin. Instead, he won by only 1 percent, around 3,500 votes.
The Left Declares War On Sperm
Author Gabrielle Blair is making waves for her groundbreaking discovery that if men stopped ejaculating inside women, we would have fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortions (though Blair, herself a Mormon mother of six, believes “women that want or need an abortion should be able to get one whenever they want or need one”). In promoting her new book, Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion, Blair has been advocating for free vasectomies and for a “social campaign that talks about the reality of vasectomies.”
In an interview with Vogue, Blair has nothing positive to say about motherhood. She calls pregnancy “a burden” (what effect this must have on her children’s self-esteem — little home wreckers!). She also refers to sperm as “a dangerous bodily fluid that can cause pain, a lifetime of disruption, and even death for some.” Pregnancy prevention (birth control) is, for women, another “burden,” Blair writes. In an interview with NPR, she said she hopes to “prevent women from experiencing this very difficult thing” that is the first trimester of pregnancy.
“Our country, our society, we’re so focused on women’s bodies — on abortion, on regulating women, women, women, and totally ignoring this thing that would actually help, would actually work,” Blair said. “It’s so clear that the anti-abortion crowd doesn’t actually care… if someone has an abortion… They just want to control women.”
Blair never names who exactly is “controlling” women. But one thing’s for sure: unwanted pregnancies have nothing to do with a woman choosing to have sex. Heaven forbid Blair or any of the people adulating her consider controlling themselves. Or acknowledge and accept that indulging in pleasurable impulses sometimes (always?) involves risks and tradeoffs.
The obvious refusal to accept any whiff of personal responsibility is simply astounding. “Men cause all unwanted pregnancies,” Blair writes. According to her, pregnancy is usually “this very difficult thing that [women] didn’t choose to experience.” But sorry, assuming you weren’t forced to have sex, you knew going into it that pregnancy was a risk factor. To the modern world, celibacy is unthinkable, I know, but could it be that maybe, just maybe, self-control is the key to saving women from the corrosive and caustic effects of sperm?
Insider Report: Major League Baseball used at least two types of balls again this year, and evidence points to a third.
Items of Interest
Brittney Griner released in prisoner swap.
Who is Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer traded for Griner?
Iran has executed a protester.
Rep. Gallagher to lead new China Select panel.
Girdusky: MAGA 2.0 disappointed in 2022.
Charlie Cook: In 2022, Fear was more powerful than Anger.
Congress’s lame duck legislators prep to make pandemic spending permanent.
Why Biden’s latest student loan payment extension is unlawful.
House GOP again presses to discuss fentanyl crisis with Biden.
Loudoun County public schools fire superintendent following grand jury report.
DOJ finds inmates bet on how quickly Whitey Bulger would die.
Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle.
Talcott: Top Trump allies bemoan early campaign stumbles.
Thune hopes for other options to Trump in 2024.
Two top NYT reporters refuse to join strike.
NYU professor claims Glenn Greenwald inciting harassment of Taylor Lorenz.
Markowicz: Twitter files prove collusion on censorship of Hunter Biden story.
FDA authorizes Covid shots for kids as young as six months.
Woman in Canadian euthanasia commercial wanted to live, claim friends.
Kerrigan: How my free range parents kept me healthy.
American Girl book criticized for pushing gender transitions.
DC movie reset: Wonder Woman 3 is not moving forward.
Why Geoff Keighley is the face of video game awards.
Harry and Meghan’s documentary drops.
Harry and Meghan’s Netflix show takes narcissism to a new level.
Cockburn: Five lowlights from Harry and Meghan’s Netflix flop.
Just the cutest moment from Harry and Meghan.
“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”
— Joan Didion