Roller coasters are exhilarating, but for those who find them scary, the best part of the ride is getting off. Americans have been stuck on the coronavirus info-coaster for more than a year and see no end to the breathless vaccine advisories. Officialdom could alleviate some of the angst by simply standing clear and leaving the bedside manner to doctors.
President Biden has spent 2021 fighting the information controls, first promising the return of customary freedom by the Fourth of July only to darken September with threats against Americans who remain vaccine-free. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Mr. Biden growled recently.
Targeting as many as 100 million Americans, Mr. Biden ordered federal workers, plus businesses with 100 or more employees, to be vaxxed or tested weekly for the virus. Refuseniks face termination. So much for the sacrosanct principle of women’s health — “my body, my choice.”
Even before the president’s command, though, most women and men alike had already shown up for the shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention reports that 76.1 percent of U.S. adults — more than 210 million — have received at least one vaccine dose.
At the same time, a smaller majority — 60 percent — of respondents to an Axios/Ipsos poll support the president’s vaccine mandates for both federal employees and Americans working in the private sector; 39 percent oppose the mandates. To their credit, Americans are apparently more willing to take the shot themselves than watch Uncle Joe force others to do so.
Neither the president nor his advisers have adequately addressed the question that lingers over the vax-or-not-to-vax issue: What about natural immunity, the human body’s innate defense against disease, and its ability to fight pathogens by building additional defenses?
Asked recently whether individuals who have already recovered from COVID-19 should still be required to get the vaccine, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci replied he could provide no “really firm answer.”
No, really? A large proportion of the nation falls into this category. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins points out in a recent NIH blog that last year’s estimate of 20 million U.S. coronavirus infections was worthless: “A recent article published in Nature offers a more-comprehensive estimate that puts the true number of infections by the end of 2020 at more than 100 million.”
With recorded cases currently approaching 42 million, the actual number of infections — including symptom-free ones — could by now total multiples of the 100 million Mr. Biden has demanded must choose between jab and job. And 99 percent recover.
Most Americans are either already vaxxed, have natural immunity from catching the virus, or both. Mr. Biden should put the brakes on his coronavirus info-coaster, let doctors treat patients without government interference, and remedy his own ailing presidential performance.