The Strange Turn of the Covid Vaccine Debate

CNN aired a special on Saturday with “Sesame Street” explaining the vaccine to children ages 5-11, who are now eligible for the injection.

Meanwhile, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not. Then he lied about it. And now he’s trying to explain it away.

Rodgers seemed so smart when he hosted “Jeopardy” in the spring. He didn’t sound very smart when he… spewed Covid-19 conspiracy theories on a podcast Friday, saying he had done his own research rather than relying on the advice of the medical community. Once known for his social justice pronouncements, he now engages in conservative talking points and laments a “awake crowdis out to get him.
Some people will not be convinced. Rodgers believed in the false and viral fear that the vaccine could affect fertility. He gets advice from anti-vaccine podcast host Joe Rogan, who is not a doctor, but who debated vaccines for more than three hours last month with Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent.

Room for debate. The vast majority of doctors and the public health community are on board with vaccines. But the support is not unanimous. It is not fully regulated within the National Institutes of Health, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to a Sunday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The paper profiles Dr. Matthew Memoli of the NIH, a senior researcher who: disagrees with the country’s current all-inclusive approach to vaccines. He has filed for a religious exemption for himself and believes the country should push the vaccine to at-risk communities such as seniors rather than giving it to as many people as possible.

He will participate in a debate streamed to NIH staff, according to the Journal, and he is apparently willing to quit his job rather than get the Covid-19 shot.

US borders are reopening. As the debates continue, travel policy evolves. See: fully booked flights from Europe and traffic that stretches for miles to Mexico. US borders opened to vaccinated international travelers on Monday, ending an 18-month moratorium and a welcome change in pandemic lifestyles as US cases plummet. But this comes just as the virus is rearing its head again in Europe.
Here are some of ‘s takeaways CNN’s report:

Who can enter the US? Fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries – including the UK and much of Europe – can now enter the US without going into quarantine, provided they have proof of vaccination and a negative viral test.

Where does the virus proliferate? Large swathes of Europe are battling to curb the rise of the Delta variant amid the easing of restrictions and the rollout of stuttering vaccines in some countries, with the WHO warning that half a million Europeans could die from Covid- 19 in a potentially devastating winter.

Germany registered its highest seven-day incidence rate since the start of the pandemic on Monday…

…neighboring Austria banned unvaccinated people from restaurants and hotels amid a spate of cases.

Iceland has also reintroduced masks and social distancing rules after a surge. And cases are hovering at record levels in Russia, Ukraine and Greece.

Vaccination rule halted for now. A federal appeals court has temporarily suspended the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule requiring most employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 testing. The court said it will expedite the review of the lawsuit filed by states and private companies against the rule, which is due to take effect on Jan. 4.
Republicans interested in running for the presidency are: falling over themselves to join the lawsuit. More than half of US states — 26 — have objected to the rule.
From pandemic to endemic. I liked this wording a CNN report as borders are opening, schools are open and young children are getting the chance, it feels like we are in a new place. Maybe that’s the “endemic” part of it.

From the report: Endemic means that a disease is constantly present in a population, but does not affect an alarmingly large number of people, as is typically seen in a pandemic. Even in early 2020, as the pandemic intensified, World Health Organization officials predicted that the novel coronavirus could “become another endemic virus in our communities” and will never go away.

The backlash against Covid-19 policies could last for years. CNN’s Pamela Brown sat down with a group of Virginia women who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but supported Republican Glenn Youngkin in the state’s governor race last week.

Their reasoning had everything to do with Covid-19 restrictions: Anger at their kids being out of class last year and frustration at not doing more to get kids up to speed.

“I had to figure out what I can do to make sure this never happens again,” Shawnna Yashar said of school closures.

A warning to Biden and Democrats. While vaccines are the subject of ongoing debate, voters are focused more on the economy than the pandemic, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

From the report: As the election year approaches, the country’s troubled landscape appears to be shifting. With the latest wave of Covid-19 infections easing and prices rising, the economy (36%) is surpassing the coronavirus pandemic (20%) as the main problem facing the country. Immigration (14%) and climate change (11%) follow and are the only other issues to hit double digits, followed by national security (8%), racial injustice (5%) and education (3%).

Biden’s approval rating is less than 50%, a dangerous political position and comparable to past presidents such as Donald Trump and Barack Obama, who suffered midterm election losses and lost majorities on Capitol Hill.

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