☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Thursday, January 13, 2022 ☙ RELENTLESS OPTIMISM 🦠
Narrative 2.0 news; the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Atlantic, CNN and others are all getting on the optimism bandwagon; even our anxiety-ridden CDC Director is getting in on the action.
Good morning and Happy Thursday, C&Cers! Well, there is simply too much Narrative 2.0 news happening to keep up with it all. Today we see how the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Atlantic, CNN and others are getting on the optimism bandwagon. And even our anxiety-ridden CDC Director is getting in on the action. Good times.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Narrative 2.0 strikes again! Yesterday, AP News ran an article headlined, “Omicron wave prompts media to rethink which data to report.”
Hahahahaha! Well, it might be Omicron. But SOMETHING sure prompted media to rethink which data to report. It gets better.
First, the article quotes Katherine Wu, the Atlantic’s main Covid reporter. “It’s just a data disaster,” she said. Not Covid. The DATA is the disaster. Poor reporters. Next, the article notes the skyrocketing cases over the holidays, but instead of blaming Christmas partygoers, AP calls it “an expected development.”
Expected! Nothing to see here! It’s not even NEWS.
So, what’s the news then? This: “The Associated Press has recently told its editors and reporters to avoid emphasizing case counts in stories about the disease.”
Hahahahaha again! Avoid emphasizing case counts?? Are you kidding me? I mean, it’s great and everything. But to say this without irony or chagrin? The AP explains the reason is because they want to be more NUANCED: “We definitely wanted people to go a little deeper and be more specific in reporting,” said Josh Hoffner, the news editor who helps oversee AP’s virus coverage.
How much do you think it must have hurt for the media to give up its favorite statistic, cases? How can it possibly manufacture terror without all the cases? Where did all this restraint and this sudden new desire to portray the pandemic accurately come from? What is the media going to focus on now, instead of cases?
The good-looking numbers, of course.
“Hospitalization and death rates are considered by some to be a more reliable picture of Covid-19′s current impact on society,” AP’s article professorially informs us. If it weren’t so funny, this newfound desire for accuracy in the media would be a bitter pill to swallow, for those of us who’ve been saying THIS EXACT SAME THING for nearly two years now.
The media is all of a sudden finding LOTS of good news, everywhere it looks, even in the hospitalization data, which you shouldn’t worry about too much anyway, since it’s overestimated: “In many cases, hospitalizations are incidental: there are people being admitted for other reasons and are surprised to find they test positive for Covid,” said Tanya Lewis, senior editor for health and medicine at Scientific American.
My gosh! This is an amazing discovery!
True, we have record numbers of cases, but even the skyrocketing case numbers THEMSELVES MIGHT BE GOOD NEWS. Reporters David Leonhardt and Ashley Wu wrote in The New York Times that “there are some in public health and journalism who believe the current surge — painful as it is — may augur good news.” Good news! “It could be a sign that Covid is headed toward becoming an endemic disease that people learn to live with, rather than being a disruptive pandemic.”
The Leonhardt and Wu article in the New York Times is itself headlined, and I PROMISE I am not making this up, “Reason For Hope.” Hope! The word “worry” — which will be receiving 2020-21 royalties until sometime in the distant future when the Sun is only a burnt cinder — that word appears nowhere in the article. Not anywhere. I triple-checked. The article ends on this upbeat note: “endemic disease does not need to dominate life the way a pandemic does … [it] appears likely — the next New Year will feel a lot more satisfying than this one.”
See what the reporters did there? They just snuck in Narrative 2.0: the pandemic’s over. It’s “endemic disease” now. And that’s how easy it is.
🔥 Well, we now know what the new scientific method is — Science 2.0, if you like, as reflected in a headline from the Telegraph yesterday: “Scientists believed Covid leaked from Wuhan lab - but feared debate could hurt ‘international harmony’.” In the article, scientists explain that they HAD to lie to the public. Why? It could have “harmed science.” Lying and getting caught isn’t what harms science, you see. Telling the truth harms science, or something.
And anyway, it wasn’t THEIR fault. It was … RACISTS!
You see, back in early 2020 people were starting to get mad at China for being so insanely irresponsible that it let a virus escape a poorly-secured lab and infect the whole world. But it’s definitely NOT China’s fault. Because communism. Everybody knows that communists are totally incompetent and lie all the time. So you can’t blame them. See? That makes sense, right?
But all you racists out there. If the scientists had told the truth, that it looked a WHOLE LOT like Covid came from the Wuhan lab, instead of coming up with the dumbest theory ever, that the pandemic was caused by regular folks … MEAT eaters … shopping at an open-air market — and not global elites, communists, corrupt bureaucrats, dark-money intelligence types, and incompetent scientists — well then, it might have somehow “interfered” with international harmony. People would have got mad at the communists, I mean the Chinese. Or something.
Okay, they know this seems bad, but look. It’s just not harmonious to hold political fat cats who’ve made fortunes sucking blood out of public treasuries accountable. That’s totally NOT harmonious. It’s racist or something.
Now think about this. What ELSE aren’t scientists telling us because it’s not harmonious and might “harm science?” Can you conceive, for example, of a future time when scientists say, “we always thought the jabs would do more harm than good, but feared further debate would harm science.” Could that happen?
Science is just not showing up well in the late pandemic.
🔥 Oh, dear. It’s all unraveling now. A remarkable article yesterday in the LA Times is headlined, “As hospitals reel, California tells coronavirus-positive medical workers to stay on the job.” I am not making that up.
You see … for SOME reason … hospitals are woefully understaffed in California. Badly understaffed. And every time you turn around, somebody is testing positive for Covid and getting a weeklong vacation, which just makes staffing that much harder.
So guess what? The geniuses in charge of California’s state government have come up with a radical new approach. This is very complex and scientific and technical, so try to stay with me. You’re going to have to focus. Here’s the new proposal:
If you’re not sick, you can stay at work. Forget about the test.
Hahahahahaha! That was the WHOLE justification for the mandates! To stop healthcare workers from infecting vulnerable patients! It only took about three weeks for that to fall apart. But this airy new enthusiasm for ignoring PCR tests and letting people work if they’re healthy is encountering a little turbulence. The article explains, maybe a little understated, “The announcement was met with outrage by many in the healthcare industry.” (Well, later it explains it was mostly the UNIONS were outraged. But you get it.)
So, the people who get all this extra Covid paid vacation time don’t like the new policy. Too bad. Nothing we can do. The experts have spoken. Dr. Robert-Kim Farley, an epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, explained it this way: “Is the situation ideal? No,” he said. But, “is it the lesser of the two evils of having no one to care for patients, versus having staff caring for them that may have Covid? Yes, it’s the lesser of two evils.”
There you have it. It’s the lesser evil. Back to work.
The article notes that some healthcare workers said “it was hypocritical of the state to ask coronavirus-positive staffers to report for duty after instituting a vaccine mandate that cost some workers their jobs.” Well, hypocritical is one word for it. On the other hand, the puzzling new policy might just be saving Biden’s terrible poll numbers from falling below zero.
You know, it is nigh-impossible keeping up with all this Narrative 2.0 news.
🔥 An op-ed in the New York Post by Karol Markowicz yesterday is titled, “Normalcy for kids in Florida proves how wrong NYC’s school rules are.” The long-time New York columnist describes having moved to Florida to escape New York’s insane Covid policies, especially for her kids, who went to school last week maskless for the first time since March 2020.
She seems pretty happy about it. And not scared.
🔥 CDC Director Rochelle Walensky published an optimistic, upbeat tweet yesterday about the country’s Covid statistics. It’s interesting for a few reasons. (
The tweet highlights all the benefits of the dominant new variant, Omicron, over its predecessor Delta:
⬇️ 53% less risk of symptomatic hospitalization
⬇️ 74% less risk of ICU admission
⬇️ 91% less risk of death
0️⃣ Zero Omicron patients required mechanical ventilation
First, check out the brand new term, “symptomatic hospitalization.” My goodness. That could have been a useful term since about, oh, a year and a half ago.
Second, where has this cheerful, glass-half-full CDC Director been hiding all this time? In a closet? Well, she’s out now, and things are looking up. It’s a beautiful day in the Biden Administration. It’s all coming up Omicron roses.
You see how all this Narrative 2.0 stuff works, right?
The comments to Walensky’s upbeat tweet suggest that the CDC’s former fanbase isn’t liking this new optimism very much. Twitter user Bonnie tweeted, “We don’t know long term effects. This causes endothelial damage in even mild & asymptomatic cases. Why is Finland warning it’s [sic] citizens of disability in 1 in 2 adults & 2% of children while CDC & WH encourage spreading it?”
Twitter user Michael Edelman (22 followers) tweeted, “Great news, but it would be even less lethal if more toddlers wore N95 masks at recess.”
User Geranorm, whose bio describes herself as “exhausted mom and caregiver,” asked, “Do these numbers include immunocompromised people who are fully vaxed and boosted but did not respond to vaccines? Or are they expendable?”
MrRoscoeDog tweeted simply, “Long Covid?”
This is going to be VERY interesting to watch.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
Welcome to the Casedemic. As you can see from this week’s numbers, Florida Cases are through the roof, the clouds, and the upper stratosphere. At 397,114 weekly cases, Florida easily snatched the record for its highest weekly positive test count, handily more than doubling the summer’s peak of 151,749 — it’s not even close — and confirming the general sense that it seems like EVERYONE is getting this stupid virus.
Meanwhile, Covid-involved deaths are essentially flat, scraping the bottom of the Covid sea, at only 44 reported.
Hospitalizations are up, but still only two-thirds of the summer peak. Reports from hospital CEOs have been reassuring, with the average cases reported to be milder with shorter average lengths of stay.
The most interesting number in today’s report is the R-naught, which has dropped back down to 1.25 from a startling peak of 3.61 last week. While the 1.25 figure suggests that cases are still increasing, they are increasing at a much slower rate than last week. In other words, it appears to be decelerating. This is what a short, thin peak might look like.
How times change. Just a few months ago the media would be assembling a wild Hysteria concert over these case numbers. Now it just seems like an asterisk. Now, according to CNN, you’re a Doomsday Doctor if you make a big deal about it. Now, according to media and TV experts, we need to be sure to distinguish between hospitalizations FOR Covid from hospitalizations WITH Covid. Now, according to Rochelle, we need to say “symptomatic hospitalizations.”
Have a tremendous Thursday, and I’ll be back tomorrow, probably with yet more Narrative 2.0 news.
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