In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked what else a Biden administration can do beyond wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing hands frequently.
The nation’s top scientist in the field essentially said there was nothing more that can be done. He emphasized that the public needs to do those same things we have heard for months. Fauci advised against a national shutdown.
And that is the point. The public has been repeatedly told to do those three things – and even as the numbers increase, acting on the advice is decreasing. According to Fauci, the answer is complicated.
The high numbers in America are largely due to the type of society we are. We are highly independent. We do not like to be told what to do. We interact more than other cultures. It is noteworthy that he did not blame Trump.
I wrote in a recent commentary that the general public is simply rejecting the dark and often exaggerated reports in the media. The mask or no mask issues is not partisan. I live in a very Democrat community with a high percentage of seniors and in a region where cases are going up. But as I go around the community, virtually no one is masking up outside or when entering restaurants. The local American bar is filled with older customers without masks.
I took a trip to the tennis courts in the local county park. That facility has a golf course, dog park, picnic areas, boating and fields for sports and events. The park was crowded, and no one was wearing masks. Groups of older men were assembled in handball games. The tennis courts were filled. There was virtually no social distancing unless the activity required it.
In my neighborhood, kids are playing outside together while their parents clump in groups to chat and supervise.
I would guess that most of these folks voted for Biden – and I specifically know some who did. They are not part of some imaginary cult-of-Trump. So, what is going on?
It is increasingly apparent that the public is not going to follow the advice of the doctors and the media. The media, particularly, has lost all credibility with the public. That is evident in the polls that are NOT reported by the mainstream outlets.
No one wants the virus. Well, almost no one. I have spoken with young people who had hoped to get the virus and acquire immunity so they can go about their lives without fear. Once they are over it, they can even go visit granny again. Yes, there are those unfortunate possibilities, but these people are playing the odds – and they are in their favor.
Many people believe the deaths are inevitable because this is the worst pandemic to hit America in 100 years. That includes a lot of people who are in the high-risk category. Many of those ignoring Fauci’s advice are seniors. One 90-year-old friend of mine said she would rather go out and risk getting Covid-19 and die rather than remain confined to her room in a senior facility for whatever precious time she has left. She would rather take the risk.
The public seems to live in a world that the isolated media culture cannot comprehend – and are unwilling to consider in view of their myopic anti-Trump, anti-Republican obsession.
The latest advice is to cancel Thanksgiving – and Christmas next. They gave that advice for Independence Day and Memorial Day, and large segments of the public chose to ignore those pleadings from the press. I suspect that will happen again for Thanksgiving and especially for Christmas.
Ironically, the good news about vaccines is likely to make the public less willing to shutdown or mask-up. They will play the odds that they will not get sick – and are extremely unlikely to die if they do – and proceed with their daily and holiday activities. I hear that very sentiment in the streets.
Most of the public also realizes that the shutdowns and protective advice have a huge downside. It is literally killing people. There are many more workers traumatized by the lack of income to pay bills and feed families than those traumatized by the pandemic. They want to go back to their jobs at the bars, restaurants, gyms, stores, etc. – and the public wants to patronize those establishments again.
It does appear that the public has had its fill of the pandemic and the hyperbolic reporting – the scare mongering. No matter how much the media sullenly reports – and spins – the numbers … no matter how many tragic anecdotal reports they present … the American people are just not going to shutdown in the numbers that the scientists believe are necessary.
This commentary is not to suggest that we should not heed the advice of the scientists, but to give a frank and honest assessment of the realities. No further repetition of the advice – and no media fearmongering – is going to make a big difference at this stage.
So, there ’tis.