The Covid Civil War
The biggest covid news of this moment is that there are two anti-covid pills in development, one from Pfizer and one from Merck.
Pfizer’s pill is in what is called phase 2/3 trials, trials that compare the new drug with a standard treatment. Merck’s is in phase 3, being tried on up to 3,000 patients. The Pfizer treatment works by slowing the virus down so that your immune system can beat it and eject it from your body.
These pills may be available in as little as four months.
Meanwhile, we’re fighting a war on two fronts. One front is our struggle with the delta variant of the covid virus. And on this front, we are not doing well. Deaths are up from a mere 155 a day on July 11th to over 2,200 on September 7th.
We’ve now racked up a total of over 40 million covid cases and over 653 thousand covid deaths.
Within two to four weeks, Covid deaths are likely to soar even higher thanks to the traveling and socializing we did on our Labor Day vacations.
Then there’s our internal battle, our civil war of covid beliefs. Our civil war of what verge on covid religions.
On this second front is the battle between Rand Paul, Governor Ron DeSantis, and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Rand Paul accuses Anthony Fauci of lying. Paul claims that the agency of which Fauci is a part, the National Institutes of Health, gave $3.1 million to China to engineer the Covid virus and turn it into something that could be used as a bioweapon. Paul calls this “gain of function” research.
On the night of Monday September 6th, Rand Paul got a giant artillery piece to use against Fauci. It’s 900 pages of Fauci’s emails. released under the Freedom Of Information Act by the investigative magazine The Intercept. According to Paul, these documents incriminate Fauci of lying to Congress about agency money that funded research on bat viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
But this is silly. Every detail that Paul and his anti-Fauci army seized upon was already known. More important, there does not appear to be any trace in these emails of Rand Paul’s bugaboo, gain of function research.
Then there’s Dr. Fauci’s battle with Florida governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis claims that being vaccinated is a personal choice. Fauci says DeSantis is wrong. Fauci insists that being vaccinated is a public responsibility. A responsibility to your neighbors, your friends, and the people you love. Why? According to Fauci and to the research, the delta variant of the virus is sneaky. It can keep you healthy but use you to breathe the virus on your family and your friends.
Some of those family and friends may become sick. Some may even die.
But in this civil war of opposing belief systems, Fox TV-watching anti-vaxxers claim that masks and vaccines are being used to institute a Marxist totalitarianism. Some even claim that masks and vaccines are the real killers.
On the other side of the battle lines, MSNBC-watchers are convinced that the real enemy of America, the real obstacle to returning to our normal way of life, is the 25% of the American adult public who refuse to be vaccinated. That 25%, they say, is giving the virus a safe haven and helping it spread.
One result is that a quarter of all new covid cases are among children. And children are now appearing in intensive care units with their lives at stake. The child covid phenomenon is happening most in states where parents refuse to be vaccinated.
But beliefs are powerful things. As Preeti Malani, an infectious disease expert at the University of Michigan says, the anti-vaxxers are so committed to their view of the world that they are willing to die for their beliefs. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt put it far more harshly on MSNBC: “Covid may be the medical cause of their death, but what they were killed by was misinformation. What they were killed by, was lies.”