"Taking the Win over COVID-19"

If you were wondering where the Biden administration's strategy of just pretending that the pandemic is over came from, here is the market research firm with blood on its hands. Impact Research, founded by Biden's 2020 campaign pollster, sent this strategy memo in February, just before CDC lost its damn mind:

Taking the Win over COVID-19:

Recognize that people are "worn out" and feeling real harm from the years- long restrictions and take their side. Most Americans have personally moved out of crisis mode. Twice as many voters are now more concerned about COVID's effect on the economy (49%) than about someone in their family or someone they know becoming infected with the coronavirus (24%). [...]

The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people's lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we're out of touch with their daily realities. [...]

Don't set "COVID zero" as the victory condition. Americans also don't think victory is COVID Zero. They think the virus is here to stay, and 83% say the pandemic will be over when it's a mild illness like the flu rather than COVID being completely gone, and 55% prefer that COVID should be treated as an endemic disease. [...]

Americans also assume they will get COVID: 77% agree that "it is inevitable that most people in the US will eventually get COVID-19", and 61% of Americans who have never tested positive think they are likely to be infected over the next year. [...]

When 99% of Americans can get vaccinated, we cause more harm than we prevent with voters by going into our third year talking about restrictions. And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November.

In other words: facts don't matter, only feelings matter, and what's the point in saving lives if you're just going to lose the midterms anyway?

If people already think they're going to catch a deadly disease, who are we to stand in their way?


Why COVID-19 gaslighting by politicians is so dangerous for democracy:

Western politicians and public health officials have managed to craft a fictional universe in which we have reached endemicity, where infection is now "mild" and getting "milder" by the variant, where COVID-19 is "like the flu," where mass infection builds a "wall of immunity" and where voluntary vaccination alone is our ticket out of the pandemic. [...]

A functioning democracy requires some common ground upon which its citizens can agree. COVID-19 gaslighting erodes that common ground. It erodes trust in government and public health, as well as institutions, like school boards, that follow their cue.

It undermines the public authority of medicine and biomedical science to guide us through the pandemic. Just as climate change has been subjected to "bothsidesism," we now increasingly hear about "both sides" of COVID-19. When politicians encourage us to "move on," COVID denialism becomes a respectable opinion.

"A spokesman at the Health Ministry said that to talk repeatedly about AIDS would cause the public to panic. Touism would certainly be affected."

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14 Responses:

  1. Floutsch says:

    Well... I'm not American. But what the polls say Americans think (become endemic, most people will get it, ...) - I think so, too. I still think we need to stretch it out. I'm pro masks, pro vaccination, pro restrictions. Wenn, not "pro restrictions" per se, more like "what needs to be done". Yes, I think this will become endemic, but the slower, the better.

    What really gets me is the getting milder by mutation. Well, yeah, one might argue it did with Omicron (long-term results pending), but who's to say it won't worsen a lot with the next one. I seriously can't understand how people think about this. Is this some "think positive and everything will get better eventually" thing?

    • George Dorn says:

      Omicron is not milder.  More people were vaccinated or had already had a prior variant when it arrived.

      • Floutsch says:

        Oh, don't get me wrong. I see "milder" as a contraption of multiple factors. Not really the variant itself but due to factors including vaccination rate. What I was about is that even if one makes the argument, that Omicron is a milder mutation, it doesn't mean the next mutation will be even milder. Could be much worse as well. It's like drivin about another red light cause the last time it went well - a fallacy.

    • jwz says:

      Also, "endemic" probably doesn't mean what you think it means. It is not an objective measure, it just means admitting defeat and deciding what weekly number of deaths cease to concern you.

      • Floutsch says:

        I do know what endemic means. English is not my native language and this is a complicated topic, so I might not get across what I mean. It would be absolutely possible to practically eradicate a virus as was done with polio. Then, obviously, it wouldn't go endemic. This would require a concerted effort worldwide including a vaccination mandate. Do I think this will happen? No. Or do you actually think otherwise? I mean, I wish we as a society could agree on this, but I don't see it happen. It will go endemic because we will admit defeated. Not you, not me, neither most of your visitors here or at your venue. There's only so much we can do - fully vaccinate, get boostered, distance, masks, advocating for restrictions and policy change. I will not relent in my personal efforts but I don't see the societal shift to prevent it going endemic.

        Maybe something that sounds like flattery illustrates my point better: Jamie, your stance on this matter is exemplary. Your handling as a business owner is as well. You are a voice of reason. There just are too many other voices that lack reason and that's our problem as a society.

        • jwz says:

          I see the phrase "go endemic" used a lot, and it bothers me because that makes it sound like a process rather than a decision. It is entirely too passive-voice. It doesn't mean "virus was not 100% eradicated", it means "this is the line where we decided to stop fighting."

          Obviously that line exists. There IS an acceptable percentage of rat-shit in your cereal. But equally obviously, our cowardly "representatives" are going to set that bar way too high.

          • Floutsch says:

            Yeah, I see where you're going. The acceptable percentage is what I meant with practically eradicated (or should it be virtually eradicated in that case?). I certainly don't mean endemic as anything other than eradication, rather the other extreme; it not being (almost) gone, but rather (almost) everywhere. And "go endemic" is the phrase I use, mainly because that's what I keep reading, so I thought this is the correct one. I think more of a tipping point sort of thing, not a process. Is it clearer if I say that I believe "it will be endemic"? Because the burden may lie on the representatives and they ARE acting cowardly. Because, to some degree, every politician is a populist by nature and they pander to the voters will if it gets them votes in the future.

          • AdamB says:

            How many deaths/week would you consider victory?
            Do you trust the official estimates?
            Would the conversation be improved if we spoke of "lost expected QALYs" instead of "deaths"? (Does anyone know where to find those numbers?)

            • CSL3 says:

              How many deaths/week would you consider victory?

              How 'bout we look at the numbers here and try to drop them down to wear they hit that "curve-flattening" we were supposed to hit over two years ago?And since you don't define your chosen source "official estimates", I'm just gonna do what I do for everyone confused by mainstream COVID gaslighting: direct you toward Violet Blue's weekly pandemic Round-Up.
        • Thomas Lord says:

          "This would require a concerted effort worldwide including a vaccination mandate. Do I think this will happen? No. Or do you actually think otherwise? "

          "worldwide ... mandate" is a fallacy.  The social change that could bring about success is a shift of the people towards recognizing a need to cooperate.  State authority necessarily lacks the capacity to save us:

          The premise of all state authority is the production of a surplus that the state can consume to establish the tools of authority such as police and armies.   The premise of the production of that surplus is permanent individual economic competition among people.  Think of what this means for something like a true "COVID Zero" policy:  the state would have to scramble to make sure everyone was decently supplied even if they have 0 income due to shut downs.   It would mean running essential production with great care, much safer workplace conditions, and so on -- no matter what the impact on private profits.  To reduce the production of surplus that much would erase the entire material premise of state authority.  (Be swell if politicians made this their goal but they don't - because they are compelled into competition.)

          COVID 0 is either a global movement of cooperation among the people, or something that can't exist.

          I mention this, because the world urgently needs a Zero Emissions policy and, in that area, the same underlying structural problem emerges.  States can not bring this about without ceasing to be states.  For the people, it is now cooperate or die.

          • Floutsch says:

            Not sure how to understand your argument. If a "worldwide mandate" is a fallacy, then how isn't expecting "a shift of the people towards recognizing a need to cooperate" not? My point is that I see neither to happen realistically. A global societal shift towards reason is something I wish I could believe in to happen, but I don't.

            To be clear, I'm not saying we shouldn't try (same as with global emissions). But I really have my doubts about as as a species really pulling together in the same, right direction. As much as I wish we would.

    • Zygo says:

      Americans got lucky with the flu last century, and don't get enough education about math or evolutionary biology, and their kids get vaccination against the really bad stuff from childhood, and they don't pay attention to stuff that happens in other countries.  They think all airborne diseases are like the flu because it's the only one they know, and they can't read the data that would help them tell diseases apart.

      "It will get milder" is not wrong--all the problematic statements are technically correct, in some literal sense, to some degree, and under some conditions.  They're not outright lies.  Some time in the next 100 years or less, there will inevitably be a milder COVID19 variant.  "It will get worse" is also not wrong--the virus could become much more severe in humans without impairing its survival fitness (a concept many Americans aren't taught and don't understand).

      The other thing to know about Americans is that a surprisingly large number of them are OK with "breed virus-resistant humans" as a public health strategy--even the ones that don't self-identify as Nazi and don't believe in evolution or genetics.  The Catholic-flavored American position on HIV in Africa is "yes a lot of people are dying these days.  Don't worry about events on mere human-lifespan time scales.  Keep the wombs full.  God will choose whose progeny is worthy of inclusion in future generations."  The long term plan is what has always worked for humans so far:  outbreed everything that comes at us, or go extinct trying.  It's hard to argue with centuries of success.

  2. Michael V. says:

    I'm pretty sure this is what the Great Filter looks like in it's early stages.

  3. George Dorn says:

    Awating the followup memo, either already written or soon to be, explaining how to prevent the millions of current and future long covid sufferers from collecting disability.  Brand it as entirely psychosomatic, or maybe unpatriotic laziness (you'd work through the pain if you cared about this country, after all).