Handshakes and hugs are back, given without a second thought. Elbow bumps have disappeared, along with store floor stickers telling shoppers to keep their distance. With the two-year anniversary of the pandemic looming, Americans are learning to live with the common COVID-19. A squinting President Biden is still viewing 2022 with a 2020 vision. Sadly, he can’t see — or won’t accept — the nation is moving on.
As predicted, the deadly virus has morphed into a milder variant able to occupy human hosts without committing suicide by killing them. The president’s strategy, though, is mired in a futile effort to inoculate his way to a virus-free nation. It’s a failure former President Donald Trump highlighted in a Saturday “Save America” rally in Arizona: “We gave Joe Biden every tool he could want, yet he still completely failed. The virus evolved, and the strategy failed to evolve with the virus.”
A new study by health care giant Kaiser Permanente in Southern California is the most recent indicator that the evolution is well underway. Comparing 52,000 omicron cases to 17,000 cases of the earlier delta variant, the study found omicron patients suffered 91% fewer deaths, experienced 74% fewer admissions to intensive care, and were 54% less likely to be hospitalized. Moreover, 98% of new infections nationwide are caused by the less-severe omicron variant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mr. Biden has repeatedly insisted that COVID-19 is “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” That might have been accurate at one time, but no longer. Millions of fully vaccinated Americans are coming down with the omicron variant that produces uncomfortable but rarely lethal symptoms.
Trend lines logged by The New York Times show eye-popping outbreaks in places like West Feliciana, Louisiana, where the virus has spiked 12,033% among a population that is 86% inoculated, and Teton, Colorado, where infections have surged by 193% despite 89% of its residents fully vaccinated.
More factually, the virus is a pandemic of the elderly. Despite 95% of Americans 65 and older receiving at least one vaccine dose, this age cohort has suffered 74% of deaths, says the CDC.
Rather than focus preventive measures on the most vulnerable, Mr. Biden clings to the notion that expensive federal measures can halt the spread of pestilence among all age groups. His plan to purchase 1 billion test kits for free distribution may prove useful in confirming infections, but it is powerless to prevent them.
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has tacitly admitted the U.S. cannot vaccinate its way out of the pandemic. “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Dr. Fauci said last week while still promoting vaccines as an infection-fighting tool.
Thankfully, pandemic panic is vanishing as Americans learn to live with the common COVID-19. If only Mr. Biden could do the same.