Good Friday Morning, especially to the COVID-19 vaccines, which continue to show stunning results. The latest is about the impacts of Pfizer in Israel. The reason we have so much information on Pfizer in Israel is that Benjamin Netanyahu signed a deal with Pfizer where Israel would collect and track information on those who got vaccines and give it to Pfizer for research purposes. In return, Pfizer has supplied a ton of vaccines to Israel. I suspect the results of the Pfizer studies are similar for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Here’s what we learned this week:
A joint study with Israeli HMO Maccabi and the Technion, which included data from 1.7 million Israelis, shows protection against coronavirus peaks 35 days after first jab, at 99.3 percent. Two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is given, it is 99% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 91.2% in preventing infection.
The data is among the findings of an analysis of the electronic health records of 1.7 million Israelis. Conducted by Maccabi Health Services and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the study shows the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine gradually increasing starting at 12 days after the first dose and reaching maximum effectiveness at around 35 days (about two weeks after the second dose).
A point I’ve repeatedly made, the reason you remain careful are vaccination is to give your body time to build up immunity. That takes time. Be mindful of that and you’ll be in good shape. No vaccine is perfect, and it’s impossible to ask them to be perfect because human body chemistry can vary greatly. But these results in the 99% range are just stunning.
Go get vaccinated, America! We’re getting close to ending this thing. This week I’m talking about post-pandemic life and the political divisions I think quarantine have created, and how those could show up later down the road. Links to follow.
Where you can find me this week
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Democrats try to steal an Iowa House race – The Conservative Institute.
Trump v. Cuomo, or what matters in a pandemic? – The Conservative Institute.
The post-pandemic political backlash between the working class and the Zoom class
I’m sitting here writing this on a late Thursday night, dodging tornado warnings. Nothing like the blare of a tornado warning on all devices in your house to get the blood pumping. I’m not sure what it does for writing creativity, but I guess we’ll find out here.
Everyone is okay in my neck of the Tennessee woods. The tornado warnings were close but went south and east of my home. It’s too early to tell right now, but I suspect one of them was on the ground for a bit based on radar signatures. That brings up memories of the 2020 March tornado that hit Nashville and Lebanon, the town where I live, and effectively marked the beginning of pandemic life for me.
It’s a bit of deja vu, tornados, and pandemic in March. It’s becoming a standard arrangement I’d prefer to live without. But if last March marked the beginning of the pandemic in the national consciousness, this March should mark the beginning of the end, as everyone is getting vaccinated from this terrible virus.
I’m among the partially vaccinated now. I got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. So far, so good. My only real symptom has been some injection site pain, which is pretty typical for me. I haven’t had any of the other symptoms people have reported. Perhaps that will change with the second dose. When I get a flu shot, I typically go through a full spectrum of very mild (but annoying) symptoms.
How to get people to believe in post-pandemic life
One day this past week, I was listening in on a conversation on Clubhouse put on by one of my favorite Twitter follows in general, but particularly good during the pandemic, PoliMath. He hosted a discussion about how to “evangelize post-pandemic life.” How do we get people out of their quarantine shells and go back to normal? For some people, this is an easy transition (I’m on this side of the spectrum, I hate quarantine and will happily go back to gyms, sporting events, and more.
But for others, they’ve adopted more a Stockholm Syndrome towards all the precautions of the pandemic. I have friends like this (mainly on the left). They’re terrified of shaking hands, going to group events, and more. They’re already talking about needing therapy to deal with group events and mass socialization after quarantine ends. To have a fully-functioning society, it’s preferable to get everyone involved.
And that was what the Clubhouse conversation was about: how do we get these people to revert to a pre-pandemic mindset?
Generally speaking, my approach to those types of people is to move on. Invite them to events, but I’m not going to go crazy trying to fix them. It’s going to be my mindset after vaccines are widespread too. If you can get a vaccine but reject that free immunity, then your health is in your own hands at that point. And it’s not a public health crisis if that segment of the population gets sick from the virus. That’s their personal decision. I think it’s wrong, but I’m not going to get in their way either.
The same goes for the fearful or those who have imprisoned themselves in the quarantine mindset. The world is going to move on, with or without you. Public policy cannot be determined by either group, those fearful of the vaccine or those afraid of “reentry.”
As an aside, I’m not overly concerned about those who claim they won’t get a vaccine. Analysts at JPMorgan have said, “Less than 18% of the adult population is reluctant to get vaccinated; less than 8% “definitely” won’t… In our models, the number of anti-vaxxers is too small to materially change the timing of the pandemic’s end … not a major risk to the economic recovery.”
Polls have shown that vaccine hesitancy is steadily dropping. As people encounter more people they know who got a vaccine, they’ll eventually get one. And that’s perfectly fine. I firmly believe the United States will be awash in vaccines by late April, early May at the latest. By that point, you should be able to walk into a store and get one anywhere you want with no line or fuss. That level of convenience will break down people who will say, “it’s free, the protection is worth it.” They may not post about it on social media, but they’ll have the vaccine. And that’s all that matters.
Zoom class versus everyone else
The more significant conflict post-pandemic isn’t going to be vaccines or people who refuse to stop wearing masks. The societal divide will be between those who were privileged enough to stay home the entire pandemic and were largely unaffected and those who couldn’t do any of those things, either because they were essential workers or couldn’t afford to.
The elite and privileged who stayed home and demanded everyone do the same thing while getting everything delivered versus those who were doing the serving and delivering. At no point in this pandemic was everyone able to stay home. One class of people continued their lives wearing masks and working hard in grocery stores, warehouses, driving trucks, and more. And the class that stayed home, particularly in select cities, used the working class as a disease prevention mechanism while judging those people for being out during a pandemic.
A thread by @TheAgeofShoddy on Twitter drove this point home for me (read the entire thread). He lost his job during the pandemic and moved out of a highly restrictive blue state to survive. He said:
One undercurrent of covid discussion, not suppressed (yet) but rarely central, has been the reality that the zoom class have spent the last year at home staying safe and having things delivered by “essential workers” too poor to do the same. We have not all been in this together.
It is less noted that others have not even had the option to keep working- the deliberate crashing of the economy has deprived them of the ability to earn a living even as the safety net has collapsed, leaving them with neither comfortable safety nor dangerous financial security.
Many of these workers are now dependent on the supposed coming economic boom to get them back to being able to support themselves- which is to say, they are dependent on the rich spending lavishly and partying to permit them to recover a small part of what they’ve lost.
This dynamic plays out in the shadow of our willingness to enforce extraordinarily harsh violations of civil rights for the better part of a year, on the theory that safety was such a paramount virtue that it justified abridgment of every other right and consideration to achieve.
He put into words something that’s gnawed at the back of my mind during this pandemic, but I could never quite phrase it in simple terms. We haven’t been in this thing together as a culture or society.
I came close to these words in a column in December when I blasted Time Magazine for naming Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as their persons of the year. Those two did nothing of note besides win an election while hiding in a basement from the virus.
Not everyone has had the luxury of working remotely or relying on Zoom for contact with other people. Millions of Americans have had to go to work every day in grocery stores, factories, warehouses, and more amid the pandemic. Others have driven thousands of miles in trucks and other delivery vehicles, shipping items to and from suppliers to businesses and consumers.
These everyday Americans have worked nonstop since the coronavirus first hit the U.S., keeping society running. In contrast, many elites have entered their houses and never left.
Working-class people have managed to keep the world running. Many of them have worked on delivering products to these people who see Biden and Harris as the heroes of 2020. But the working class wasn’t able to hide in a basement, unlike the Time “Person of the Year.”
The point of this is not some superiority complex or a rant about how the little people are better than those at the top. It’s the simple point that what it means to be great in the year 2020 required bravery. It meant going out and doing a job, like the Nashville Police Department did, in the face of a bomb threat. It meant facing the virus head-on instead of hiding.
Biden and Harris talk about unity and being in this together, but that ignores the fact that we haven’t been in this together. After facing down all the dangers that the “Zoom class” avoided by building off the work of the working class, a lot of people wanted to live some normalcy in the pandemic. They already faced the virus when working; why not do the same while enjoying some time off work?
The virus spread on a seasonal basis, ignoring all state mandates and rules. The Zoom class believes strongly in their regulations and directives, but there’s precious little evidence those measures work beyond the margins. Obviously, in a pandemic, you take any edge you can take. But you have to be mindful of the costs.
I firmly believe it was right to shut things down last spring. We had to shut down because the federal government (FDA/CDC) so thoroughly bungled their one job in America that they put us behind our response capacity by 3-4 months, at least. The incompetence of our public health officials, red-tape authoritarians, and their distrust of the American people has been the single most significant factor in preventing a faster response to anything throughout this pandemic.
But that decision had cost. Refusing to acknowledge the costs is ignoring reality. And the next phase of this will be the political blowback from those who lived and worked in a pandemic versus those who did everything via Zoom, Postmates, and Instacart. I’m generalizing here because not everyone fits into these categories. But, politically, the broad brushes describe a division that exists and continues to get exacerbated.
The current frontlines of that division if over schools. The Zoom class is very pro-shut the schools down, despite all evidence saying that’s utterly wrong. That public-policy decision directly harms the working class, who depend on public schools to give them the opportunity to get incomes from both parents. Making things worse, there’s no danger. Here’s the CDC:
Based on the data available, in-person learning in schools has not been associated with substantial community transmission. Although national COVID-19 case incidence rates among children and adolescents have risen over time, this trend parallels trends observed among adults. Increases in case incidence among school-aged children and school reopenings do not appear to pre-date increases in community transmission.
Any person suggesting schools are dangerous is a part of the fearmongering Zoom class. Do you know what’s especially sickening about this? Teachers Unions claiming they face some unique danger and refusing to work for the kids of people who have worked every day of the pandemic; people deemed essential workers initially but are now at the end of the line for vaccines.
None of this is getting ignored. The Zoom class will breed political resentment as they stick their noses up at the rest of the world. And that’s because everyone knows that we were not in this together, even if only in the back of our minds.
Yes, the American people banded together and did great things to overcome the pandemic. I’ve tried documenting that greatness. But the Zoom class has regularly spat on those accomplishments and preferred all kinds of public shaming. As we head into post-pandemic life, if they continue shaming fully vaccinated or immune people, that’s going to create a political backlash. I suspect they will because the Quarantine Stockholm Syndrome is real.
Populism has not died. Not even for a minute. And people who think that only Trump animated populism in America are in for a rude awakening.
For my part, I’m fully onboard with fully reopening everything right now and returning to everyday life. We need to do this for as much as a social release as much as anything. So get vaccinated, stay smart while your body builds immunity. And after that? Let’s have the most incredible American summer in history. Ignore the Zoom class. Let them shrink away.
Links of the week
Sources: Secret Service inserted itself into case of Hunter Biden’s gun: The bizarre incident involved a trash can, a man searching for recyclables and, eventually, federal law enforcement. – Politico
Trump’s secret sit-down with Ohio candidates turns into ‘Hunger Games’: The former president summoned four candidates for the state’s open Senate seat in a session that resembled the boardroom scenes on “The Apprentice.” – Politico
Joe Biden Now: The Filibuster Is a ‘Jim Crow Relic.’ Joe Biden Then: The Filibuster Is about ‘Integrity’ and ‘Fair Play’ – Dan McLaughlin, National Review
No, the Filibuster Isn’t Racist – Zaid Jilani, Newsweek
Biden’s Woeful Press Conference – National Review
Democrats Are Failing the Schools Test: The fight between politicians, parents, and teachers over school reopenings could soon affect elections. – Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic
Murder rate jumps back to 1990s levels, data show – The Washington Examiner
Israeli Study: Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Is 91 Percent Effective at Preventing Infection: A joint study with Israeli HMO Maccabi and the Technion, which included data from 1.7 million Israelis, shows protection against coronavirus peaks 35 days after first jab, at 99.3 percent – Haartz
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Air Force One Now Equipped With Handicap Parking Pass – Babylon Bee
Thanks for reading!