This is getting embarrassingly easy. The so-called experts along with control freak politicians keep making apocalyptic predictions about decisions at any level of government in the United States to relax CCP Virus-related curbs on personal behavior and business activity. And they keep getting it laughably wrong. The latest example: Texas’ decisions last month to reopen its economy fully and lift its state-wide mask mandate, both effective March 10, and similar announcements by Mississippi effective March 3.
The blowback was swift and harsh. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, longtime director of the federal government’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser, on March 3 attacked the moves as “quite risky.” And citing a recent plateauing of new infections in both states, added “That’s a dangerous sign because when that has happened in the past, when you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you’ve seen a surge back up.”
Mr. Biden was much blunter, contending on the same day that both states were making “a big mistake” that stemmed from “Neanderthal thinking.”
Well now it’s a little more than a month later and it sure looks like the know-nothings are in Washington, D.C. As of yesterday, according to the Washington Post‘s virus tracker, the seven-day average of daily new reported cases in Texas is down by 40.60 percent since March 10, and in Mississippi it’s plunged by 61.37 percent since March 3.
Even more revealing, while reported infections in these troglodyte states were sinking, guess what happened to reported cases nationally? Between March 3 and yesterday, the seven-day new infections average rose by two percent. And needless to say, this nation-wide figure includes many states that have retained mask mandates and other extensive behavior and economic curbs.
By the way, I’m fully aware that case numbers are a deeply flawed measure of pandemic spread and progress against it, due to flaws in states’ reporting systems, varying definitions of “case,” the undoubtedly large numbers of asymptomatic infections throughout the country, and now, surging numbers of vaccinations. I’m also aware that we’re now dealing with different strains of the virus with differing degrees of virulence.
But reported new infections are one of measures emphasized by Fauci in particular. And it seems safe to assume that he and the President know about the different strains. So live analytically by the chosen statistic, and die by it.
I’m also aware that neither Texas nor Mississippi was turning its back totally on the mitigation measures stressed by the Feds. For example, the former exempted areas “with high hospitalizations,” and those counties are entirely free to retain or impose significant restrictions. And businesses all over the state can still require mask-wearing and other hygiene measures.
Mississippi also still mandates mask-wearing where its not possible to follow its remaining social distancing rules (which are still noteworthy, especially in schools and for their extracurricular activities – including sporting events – at all levels, from kindergarten through university). Further, counties and municipalities are fully free to adopt stricter rules if they wish except for businesses providing essential services.
But Fauci and the President surely read the actual Texas and Mississippi executive orders – didn’t they?
It’s entirely possible that in the coming days and weeks, states that start or keep easing anti-virus mandates of all kinds will see rising case numbers. In fact, that appears to be the situation in Michigan now – even though its rules are still pretty restrictive. But actually, that’s the point. If comparable masks and lockdowns etc policies and comparable policy changes are producing dramatically different results, then clearly something, or some things, other than these restrictions and their status are mainly responsible. And recognizing this logic is crucial given that the economic curbs haven’t exactly been cost-free either in terms of the economy or public health.
For the time being, though, there’s one dimension of the CCP Virus story that seems firmly established. For the experts and the political leaders who profess to be simply “following the science” on pandemic forecasts, being whoppingly off-base means never having to say you’re sorry.