As the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads both within the United States and abroad, many Americans are confronting a new reality. For over a year, millions of individuals have attempted to avoid becoming infected with the novel coronavirus at all costs, with some continuing to do so despite being vaccinated or acquiring natural immunity through prior infection. Even so, with each passing day, it grows increasingly apparent that COVID-19 isn’t going away.
According to data from the United Kingdom, nearly 54,000 positive coronavirus tests were recorded on July 17, the highest number since January. In the United States, the daily case average is up more than 144% over the last two weeks. It’s clear that while COVID-19 vaccines have been extremely efficacious up to this point, they haven’t done exceedingly well in preventing infection from the Delta variant.
There is good news, though. Hospitalizations and deaths remain quite low, including in the United Kingdom, which won’t see anywhere near the strain on its hospitals that it witnessed during the winter surge if current trends hold. In January, the country averaged 1,241 deaths a day at the peak of the pandemic; it’s presently averaging 41. Vaccinations have remained extremely effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Of course, the burden on hospitals and the potential for an astronomical death toll was the justification used for locking the country down in the first place. It’s why we wore masks, which were intended to be epidemiological tools to curb the spread of a particularly deadly disease, not virtue signaling devices. In hindsight, lockdowns and widespread masking had no discernible impact on coronavirus spread but did create a slew of other problems ranging from a widening academic achievement gap to a sharp increase in drug overdoses.
With an incipient surge in coronavirus cases happening around the country, most Americans have likely come to grips with the fact that they’ll almost certainly be infected with COVID-19 at some point, so a return to normalcy is warranted. They correctly hold the position that locking down again would do far more harm than good. But others — overwhelmingly on the political left — have attempted to deny reality because contracting the virus has become something of a moral failure.
Stories like this encapsulate such an attitude perfectly. A vaccinated California man and his wife contracted COVID-19 on vacation, then gave it to their kids; they all had minor symptoms and made a full recovery. But when local media interviewed him, he said that he “spent a year and a half avoiding” the virus. He added that the only thing worse than getting the virus was “knowing that I gave it to my kids.” Both children, ages nine and seven, had congestion and a low-grade fever.
Prior to the pandemic, someone contracting a respiratory illness that gave them minor symptoms wouldn’t have been newsworthy in the slightest. Given their symptoms, it’s almost certain that the two children in question have had more severe illnesses during their childhood than coronavirus. The survival rate for COVID-19 among children is higher than infectious diseases like seasonal flu and vaccinated people make up just 1 percent of deaths from the virus nationwide.
The insistence that COVID-19 be treated far differently than any other virus, even though vaccine demand has been met, is ridiculous. The desire to mask kids as young as three years old, despite their incredibly low risk for serious illness from COVID-19, is equally asinine. None of this has anything to do with science. In reality, it’s an outgrowth of media hysteria that has thrown out centuries of epidemiology and rational risk assessment in favor of sensationalism and fear-mongering.
The truth is that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. There are two reactions that politicians, public health experts, and our fellow Americans can have to that fact. One is to double down and reinstate the failed lockdown policies championed by Dr. Anthony Fauci and his allies. The other is to acknowledge that those who take the vaccine have their risk for severe complications from the virus radically diminished and that those who aren’t immune and elect to forgo these inoculations assume the risks of COVID-19.
The latter approach is the correct one, and every American should acknowledge that. It’s unfortunate that some in power are irrationally reacting to the latest wave by imposing mask mandates regardless of vaccination status and threatening more lockdowns. Both of these measures defy science and indulge the delusions of far too many who believe that even so much as contracting COVID-19 is a life-altering tragedy.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.