On the menu today: Did you hear about that group of former Biden advisers publicly pitching “A National Strategy for the ‘New Normal’ of Life With COVID”? Yeah, don’t get your hopes up. It’s not a path back to normalcy, it’s a hodge-podge of common sense and deeply controversial ideas that would probably make virus-driven closures a regular feature of American life for the foreseeable future. Also, with more than 3.3 million new Covid-19 cases reported in the U.S. from Monday to Thursday, it’s probably time to retire the phrase, “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
It is easy to get excited about a group of former Biden advisers publicly pitching “A National Strategy for the ‘New Normal’ of Life With COVID,” particularly when their plan begins by saying that, “The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy.”
From that title and opening declaration, you might get the idea that they want the government to pull back from its mandates, restrictions, and quarantines and allow you to assess the risk for yourselves, make your own decisions, and live in a world where SARS-CoV-2 is endemic — the virus is still around, but much less likely to cause severe health consequences.
But that’s not really the philosophy at work in these proposals, from six different advisers, spread over three essays in The Journal of the American Medical Association. They’re a hodge-podge of noncontroversial common sense — “institutionalizing telemedicine waivers, licensure to practice and enable billing across state lines, and other measures that allow the flow of medical services to severely affected regions should be a priority” — and some ideas that would dramatically expand the government’s role in your health care: “The US needs to establish a real-time, opt-out digital surveillance system to monitor all vaccinated individuals for the frequency and severity of adverse effects, postvaccination infections, and waning immunity.” As Ed Morrissey succinctly put it, these ideas aren’t a return to normalcy; they would make a state of emergency the new normal.