☕️💘 Coffee & Covid ☙ Monday, February 14, 2022 ☙ PIVOT HARDER 💘🦠
WSJ explains Narrative 2.0 using dem's words; the Super Bowl is Narrative 2.0 approved; big banks drop mandates; former CDC Dir. Redfield pivots; Norway is DONE; a surprising study; and more...
Happy Valentine’s Day, C&C! 💝 And, it’s Monday, the third week of February, just two more weeks of official Pandemic until we start Endemic Covid. I think. Today’s candy-coated roundup includes: the Wall Street Journal lays out Narrative 2.0, in the words of democrats, as clearly as you’d like; the Super Bowl reflects the new narrative; the big banks drop mandates; Biden has a problem with some mask-loving dems; Redfield pivots on masks; Norway is DONE with Pandemic 1.0; Hawaii pivots on booster mandates; and a surprising new mask study tells us a LOT.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
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🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Here it is, all of it, I told you so. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story headlined, “Some Democrats Push Biden to Embrace Normalcy as Covid-19 Cases Ease.” And, the subhead: “Lawmakers say president’s State of the Union address marks key moment amid public criticism of administration’s pandemic response.”
What’s the “key” moment? The State of the Union! Here’re the first three sentences of the Journal’s story:
Some Democrats are pushing President Biden to use his planned State of the Union speech to endorse a return to a sense of normalcy as Covid-19 cases fall, pressuring the White House as many of the party’s governors are rolling back restrictions in their states. The elected officials are zeroing in on the March 1 speech as a pivotal opportunity for Mr. Biden to embrace dropping of mask mandates and other rules, as cases decline from the recent Omicron surge but hospitalizations remain high in parts of the country. They are hoping the prime-time address can lift public morale and boost the party heading into midterm elections, where Democrats are considered to face an uphill fight keeping control of Congress.
WHY is it a “key moment?”Because democrats are facing “an uphill fight” to keep Congress. Joe needs a boost. Somehow, WE all saw this coming back in December, but it took the media until two weeks before the SOTU to figure it out. So. Weird.
The WSJ reported that Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat facing a close race this fall, said “There are a bunch of us that are pushing the White House to really use the State of the Union as a sort of declaration of the new phase.” A BUNCH of us. Who all want a “new phase.” Call it Phase 2.0, if you like that better than Narrative 2.0. And they want the SOTU to BE the declaration of Phase 2.0.
White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said Biden and his administration are in “active discussions” with public health experts, inside and outside the government, plus state and local leaders, on how to approach the “next phase” of the pandemic. That’s a lot of discussing. The Journal said Democrats hope a Covid pivot will help them politically, especially as they campaign in places with few pandemic restrictions, like Iowa, Arizona, Michigan and Texas. LOL, um, what about Florida? Lost cause?
And all the blue-state governors are now on board. Remember — GOVERNORS are where all the mandates began. “Everybody’s fatigued, fed up, tired, sick of this thing,” said Governor Phil Murphy (D., N.J.), vice chairman of the National Governors Association, who was narrowly re-elected in November, and who just announced an end to the state’s school mask mandate, coincidentally. “We believe strongly this is the right, responsible step for public health, and it passes that test of meeting the moment,” he said. He believes it “strongly.” Murphy said governors from both parties told Mr. Biden in a recent meeting about wanting to usher in a new “stage” that would no longer allow the virus to disrupt daily life. Stage 2.0.
No pressure, though. Representative Dean Phillips (D., Minn.) said the State of the Union “is the singular moment on which perhaps this entire presidency will be judged.” Wow. And they want a packed house for Biden’s pivot, or new stage, or phase, or whatever the pollsters tell them is the best name. Not some socially-distanced mask parade. The Journal says they are “worried” about the optics of Biden giving a speech to a largely empty chamber, or one with more Republicans than Democrats. I bet they are. Pelosi said on Wednesday that members had “expressed interest” in a bigger audience than at Biden’s Congressional address last April.
Why would they lay it all out like this? Because they can’t allow it to be a surprise to most democrats when Biden pivots to Narrative 2.0 at the SOTU. Democrat stalwarts need a little transition time to get their heads around the necessity of giving up all these fun mandates. Articles like this one explain the “why” to politically-invested dems. It’s a sacrifice, to beat Republicans.
Watch for Pelosi to drop the mask mandate and distancing requirements in Congress shortly. It’s coming.
😷 Friday, the New York Stock Exchange announced withdrawing its mask mandate (for fully injected) EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, after several large U.S. banks also dropped their mask requirements. The New York Post reported that the Stock Exchange joined investment banks like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, which also announced Friday they were dropping office mask requirements starting MONDAY. In other words, one day notice. Two weeks before the you-know-what.
Weird how it all happens all at once, huh?
🚚 MSN reported that the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing reopened late Sunday, after trucker protests had kept it closed for almost a week. Meanwhile, Canadian officials held back from a crackdown on the larger protest in the capital, Ottawa. The Freedom Convoy continues to roll.
🏈 The LA Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals last night 23-20, in an exciting fourth-quarter Super Bowl comeback. With a few notable exceptions that only served to better illustrate the point, the massive and festive crowd of 75,000 appeared to be nearly MASKLESS, as did attending celebrities, officials, news anchors, and the players. So.
There’s a bigger story here than the hypocrisy of holding a huge sporting event in a locked-down, masked-up county in a state that still has a declared “state of emergency.” It’s the absence of VIRTUE SIGNALING. Even the LA Mayor was completely face-nude in televised appearances from the game. Nor did any of the interviewed celebrities wear masks. Think about what that means. They aren’t worried about blowback. Why?
📈 Joe Biden has a Democrat problem. A YouGov poll shows 56% of Americans said they think their state should have a law forcing citizens to wear masks. By party, 85% of registered democrats favor mandates, with 53% of independents and 25% of Republicans. This is what Joe Biden is up against to roll in Narrative 2.0.
A Monmouth University poll released in late January found that 70 percent of Americans overall — and virtually the same figure among independent voters — agreed it is time to “accept that COVID is here to stay” and “get on with our lives,” among Democrats, that number was just 47 percent.
Politico published an article about how some democrat senatorial politicians feel they can’t yet advocate for dropping mandates, headlined, “Senate Dems Left Behind As Party Inches Away From Mask Mandates.” Oh dear.
Politico said a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee declined to comment about the organization’s Covid messaging, which was a stark contrast with remarks made this week by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who said “it’s time to give people their lives back.”
Republicans observed the Dems’ discomfort with great interest. “It’s the most defining issue of the last several years, and you’re speaking to your base and only your base,” Republican strategist Zack Roday said about Democrats’ mandate messaging. “K-12 parents, combined with the center of the electorate, are only getting spoken to by one political party. It makes for a really bad recipe for Democrats trying to hold the Senate, House, statehouses and so on.”
Who could have seen THIS coming?
They’ll be working overtime the next two weeks to get everyone’s head right. You’ll see.
🔥 Last week Norway dropped its mandates; then on Saturday it dropped ALL its social distancing requirements. “The meter is disappearing. We are taking away the recommendation on social distancing,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters at a press conference. “Now we can now socialise like we did before, in nightlife, at cultural events and other social occasions. And on the way to and from work on buses, trains and ferries,” he said. So there.
Note carefully, this is IN SPITE of the fact that Norway hasn’t even reached its Omicron peak yet. Cases are STILL climbing there. And the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said Covid hospitalizations were up 40% during the past week.
Here’s a link to Google’s travel site for Norway, in case you were interested.
😷 Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, who once famously said that masks were better than vaccines at keeping people safe, told Fox late last week that "Schools have always been a very low transmission zone for COVID [and] I think people over play the role [masks] play.” Well, well, well. He’s pivoting.
💉 Late last week, Hawaii’s Democrat Governor David Ige retreated from his previously-announced plans to require boosters for tourists to the island state. On January 22, state officials had said they “were considering” the booster requirement. How times change! Pivoting!
😷 Imagine this, if you can. A new study recently published in the Italian Journal of Infectious Medicine is titled, “Pilot study on burden of fungal contamination in face masks: need for better mask hygiene in the COVID-19 era.” That’s right. The study describes finding LOTS of fungus on kids’ face masks. Out of 50 masks, fungal contamination was found on 35 of 50 (70%) masks tested. Gross.
Now, I’m old enough to remember when a plucky group of Gainesville parents and a courageous UF researcher published a report finding fungus (and worse) on school masks but were promptly canceled, discredited, and threatened. But now, journals are willing to publish studies critical of face masks, for SOME REASON. I wonder what it could be?
Have a marvelous Monday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow to continue watching Narrative 2.0 blooming like a rare flower. An ugly flower, but still. It’s a flower.
You can help get the truth out and spread optimism and hope: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-