How Do We Get More People Vaccinated?

It’s easy and very tempting to poke fun at the Texas Democrats who fled Austin for Washington D.C., took selfies of themselves flying maskless on a private plane (in direct contradiction to TSA guidelines), and who were then hit by an outbreak of the Coronavirus. Actually, when you consider that Gene Wu is among them, it becomes impossible not to make fun of them.

And yet, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture. Yes, the Texas Democrats are smugly off-putting and strangely proud of stalling out whatever momentum the Democratic Party had in Texas. Yes, Gene Wu is a second-rate version of Eric Swalwell. Yes, they were all vaccinated but, at last count, five of them still ended up testing positive for the Coronavirus. And yes, Kamala Harris had to go to Walter Reade after meeting with these idiots. It’s easy to laugh but, as of now, none of the five confirmed cases appear to be serious. The symptoms have been described as mild.

In other words, the vaccine appears to be doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The vaccine has never been a guarantee against getting the Coronavirus. It’s always been acknowledged that some people would still contract COVID even after getting the shot. Instead, the role of the vaccine is to make it less likely that you’ll fall seriously or fatally ill as a result of getting COVID. The fact of the matter is that we’ll probably never be rid of COVID-19. Much like the flu, it may just be a part of everyday life now. But, by getting vaccinated, we can be much better prepared to deal with it in case we do get ill.

While I do agree that it does seem strange that one relatively small caucus of legislators would have that many breakthrough infections, it also appears that the vaccine does work.

So, how do we get more people to take the vaccine? How do we deal with vaxx hesitancy? I think that Twitter user @theageofshoddy has the right idea.

Too much of the current vaccine messaging is made up of government officials saying things like, “If you get vaccinated, we might let you do some things.” That’s an approach that people in Washington love because it makes them feel important but it’s not going to resonate with a lot of people outside of the D.C. bubble. People are already doing things. Offering to allow people to do things that they’re already doing just proves that people in D.C. have massively overestimated their influence.

The other approach that I frequently see is the commentator or the celebrity who says, “Get vaccinated or you’re a terrible person who is selfish and wants to kill people.” Lecturing people is never the right approach, especially when the lecturing is being done by a media and a political class that has continually proved itself to be hypocritical and unwilling to live by the rules that it sets for everyone else.

If someone is already hesitant about the vaccine, their mind is not going to be changed by our mummified president pointing at the camera and struggling to put indignant words together into a coherent sentence. And celebrities aren’t going to change anyone’s mind either. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve see the John Legend “This is our shot” commercial but, as expensive as it obviously was to produce, it doesn’t appear to have moved the needle one way or another. When your idea of effective outreach is to have Sean Penn interview Dr. Fauci for a primetime special, it’s clear that you don’t know how to reach anyone outside of your circle.

Get Biden out of it. Get the celebrities out of it. Let the community take care of itself. The vaccines are a good thing. Let people learn that from those that they know and trust. True, that may not be as emotionally satisfying to some as giving orders or passing judgment or indulging in their own authoritarian impulses but it may also be the only way to get people to take the shot.

Have You Ever Noticed?

This has been getting a lot of play on twitter today.

Have you ever noticed that the biggest assholes in government are always the czars? That’s because most of policy czars are people who the president wanted to be appoint to an official post but, because they’re all almost uniformly assholes, it was realized that they would never be able to get Senate confirmation. So, they became czars. Most of them don’t have any real power but they do get to go on the morning shows and pretend to be experts.

What I know is that my family sacrificed. My friends sacrificed. Jobs were lost. Businesses were closed. People stood by helplessly as their loved ones died alone. You want to talk about COVID and how the American people responded? You need to talk about the people who suffered and who did what they were told to do and who were constantly scolded by the media and who watched as the rich and powerful continually skirted the restrictions that they insisted everyone else had to follow. You need to talk about the people who went through this and somehow did it all without losing their minds. A lot was demanded of the American people over the past year and a half and the majority of them did the best that they could and they’re still hurting as a result. Would a little gratitude be out of order? Maybe give the scolding a rest and just say, “Thank you, we know it’s been hard?”

So many of the people who are still scolding Americans for “not sacrificing enough” are the people who haven’t really had to sacrifice anything.

A Short Review of Biden’s Speech

Biden’s speech last night was strange.  At the time, it seemed to be just another Joe Biden word salad but it’s left with me with a bitter aftertaste.  I think a lot of us were either so amazed or so relieved that Biden’s still able to read a teleprompter that we initially overlooked the scolding tone of the speech.  And yet this morning, it’s the scolding that most of us are remembering.

“Do what we say or we’ll bring back restrictions,” is not a great message.  It doesn’t make me want to follow “the rules.”  Telling me that I have to listen to Dr. Fauci doesn’t cover up how inconsistent Fauci has sometimes been.  Promising people that they can maybe have a barbecue on the 4th of July doesn’t work when most of us know that we can have a barbecue anytime we want.

If I was a White House advisor, I’d suggest losing the scolding tone and just promise people that they can get back to their lives after taking the vaccine.  Emphasize restrictions going away, not the possibility of them coming back.  Stop acting personally offended just because people are understandably frustrated by everything that’s going on, that’s what someone who actually possessed empathy would do.  Gloom is not what we need right now.  You have to give the people hope.  It’s hard to do that when your messenger is an elderly man who often seems to be in a state of confusion.  If there’s ever been a time when America needs young, energetic, and optimistic leadership, it’s now.

Late Night Lockdown Thoughts

I think the scariest thing about Coronavirus is how unpredictable it is.  Some people get exposed without getting sick.  Some people get exposed and become sick immediately while others can walk around for weeks without feeling the least bit ill while spreading the virus to others.  For some people, it’s a death sentence and, for others, it’s just a shitty couple of weeks.  We can’t easily predict what the virus is going to do and that’s a scary thing.

It also means that we don’t know when our lockdowns are going to end.  We don’t know what type of world we will be entering after the virus has run its course.  Worst of all, we don’t know who is still going to be in that world.  When you see the statistics and the projections, it’s easy to imagine that, whenever this does end, every survivor will have lost someone to the virus.  I’m not ashamed that I find that to be a scary thought.

It’s got me thinking about the way I talk to people.  It’s got me thinking about all the times that I’ve wanted to say something but I haven’t because I always figured there would be a better time in the future.  This pandemic is making me think about not just the way that we make assumptions about other people but also the way that we speak to each other.  At times like this, we should be aware that anything we say to another human being could potentially be the last thing that we ever say to that person.  It’s a terrible thought but that’s the world that we’re living in right now.

I wish my thoughts were happier right now but they’re not.  I’m happy to be isolated with people who I love but I’m also missing my family up north and across the ocean.  I can’t wait to see everyone again, in person.  Take care of yourselves.


Call It The Communist Virus

To be honest, I do kind of wish Trump would stop calling the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” because that does make it sound like we’re blaming the Chinese people instead of the Chinese government.

I’d call it the Communist Virus.  Or maybe the ChiCom Virus, if you really want to make clear which set of communist overlords we’re blaming.

But, as angry as we have every right to be at the Chinese government, we should always make it clear that we stand with the Chinese people.

The Coronavirus Is Scary As Hell

There’s no use in downplaying how serious this could be or denying that it’s preying on everyone’s mind.  The Coronavirus is frightening.

What makes it especially scary is that, right now, we’re largely dependent on news coming out of China.  Much like the Soviet Union during the Chernobyl crisis, the Chinese government has often shown that it’s willing to cover-up the truth if it means protecting it’s own infallible self-image.  When your governing philosophy is based on the idea that the State being infallible, it means that not only can you not acknowledge your mistakes but also that you can’t really correct them.

Speaking of Chernobyl, the entry for the miniseries that it inspired has apparently been removed from China’s version of the imdb.  It’s said that people were using the message boards to criticize their government’s lack of transparency about the Coronavirus and the Wahun quarantine and they were comparing China’s handling of the outbreak to the way the Kremlin tried to cover up the Chernobyl disaster.  That’s what happens when you place maintaining your own power over the health of your citizens.

Finally, I saw this on twitter.  This is from the World Health Organization: