One of Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisers, Andy Slavitt, was unable to explain on MSNBC why open Republican states like Florida have performed relatively similarly to liberal states like New York, New Jersey, and California that have strictly locked down. After all, that certainly isn’t what we were told would happen.
“I want to start with what we just saw, contrast states like Florida and California, California basically in lockdown and their numbers aren’t that different from Florida,” host Stepanie Ruhle noted.
“There’s so much of this virus that we think we understand, and we think we can predict, that’s just a little beyond our explanation. What we do know is the more careful people are, the more they mask and social distance, and the quicker we vaccinate, the quicker it goes away and the less it spreads. We’ve got to get better visibility into variants. We don’t know what role they play. As we all have learned by this time, this is a virus that continues to surprise us. It’s very hard to predict, and, all around the country, we’ve got to continue to do a better job, and I think we are, but we’re not done yet.”
When this pandemic kicked off, we had some educated guesses and a few weak studies to work with, but we really didn’t know how it would play out. However, we did quickly compile real-world experience, even if we ignored a lot of it because it didn’t square with the conventional wisdom. Very early on, we learned that lockdowns didn’t work, nursing homes were particularly vulnerable to the virus, and that the virus didn’t seem to spread particularly well outside. Later on, it became clear that masks weren’t a significant check on the spread of the virus. Put another way, other than social distancing, almost everything we’ve done to prevent the virus doesn’t work very well and so, it just runs its course whatever we do.
The states, like Florida, that recognized this early on and didn’t shut down as much suffered less economically. The states that didn’t figure it out still got infected and took a crushing economic hit from the government-imposed lockdowns that still did little to stop the virus. When it comes to COVID, there is a lot of talk about science, but not many people seem willing to look at the results of the scientific experiment we’ve been conducting across the country and draw the obvious conclusions.
John Hawkins is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know
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