In Omicron’s Sights

One can’t realize how badly the administration had failed us in this pandemic until it hits you personally. According to Biden’s chief medical spokesman, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “just about everybody” will eventually be infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus.” This fact is of little importance to some, but it can be a death sentence to others.

We have known almost from the beginning Covid hits age groups very differently. The New York Times shows us graphically the great danger to octogenarians versus the less than flu for children. Unless you have some co-morbidity, people under 50 have little likelihood of hospitalization, much less dying from covid. For a person in their 80s, the chance of dying from the disease multiplies. The daily covid death toll is dominated by those over 65. While vaccination cuts your risk from the disease, the elderly show evidence of waning protection. Common sense: those over 65 and at-risk need more help.

The solution to the problem exists. A person in a high-risk group evidencing covid symptoms takes a rapid home test. Upon confirmation by the second swab, a telemedicine call results in an antibody prescription. Whether pills or infusion, the person has reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 90%. We don’t have to invent the tests or therapeutics; we’ve already done that. Combined with the fact we’re fully vaccinated, including a booster, happy days, we’ve minimalized the problem.

Unfortunately, I’ve found this program doesn’t exist under the Biden administration and won’t for quite a while. This week, our daughter woke up with some covid symptoms. She tried to find a place to buy a rapid home test, but none were available. She asked us if we had some. In a sane world, all the highly at risk would have them. We have hope Amazon will deliver our order before the end of the month.

Our daughter found a drive-thru testing station having PCR tests available on the other side of Phoenix. These take days to get results. Luckily, she found a friend with a spare rapid test. It showed she didn’t have covid.  

This got me thinking, what if it was one of us with the symptoms? We’d have to drive sick all over town just to get tested. If the test is positive, what then? A telemedicine call would get us a prescription for a therapeutic, but like most U.S., these are in short supply or just not available in Phoenix. With the highly effective Phizer pills, you must take them in the first five days of illness. We’d have already lost a couple of days getting the test outcome. Waiting isn’t an option.  

The result is that we are more isolated today than in March of 2020. Venture virtually anywhere, and I will be endangered by omicron. It didn’t have to be this way. Experts warned the administration about faster spreading variants, as I’ve pointed out. In any case, the winter usually brings a sharp increase in disease. Why weren’t enough test kits purchased and at least made available to the most vulnerable? Why weren’t the promising Phizer and Merck therapeutics are given the same “Warp Speed treatment as the vaccines? Advance orders could’ve provided an ample supply on approval.

In many ways, the Biden administration has made matters worse. On Wednesday, 1/19, the federal government will start takings orders for the half-billion home covid tests. The free swabs will take up to 12 days to get to people, so it will be next month before most people can score them. According to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the government obtained the masks by grabbing those destined for the states. The government put itself ahead of state orders. The result is further delay. 

Worse, the tests will be available to everyone rather than prioritized to the most at-risk. States often rank the availability of tests and therapeutics by vulnerability. This system has made more sense from the beginning. Rather than a pandemic of the unvaccinated, it has always been a pandemic o the elderly. In a May 2020 post, I included this chart:

Notice this looks similar to the New York Times chart above. That’s because Covid was always much more of a risk to the elderly. Fulfilling the needs of the vulnerable and those that serve them should always be prioritized. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has shaped his Covid policy based on this simple fact.

The Governor made sure the genuinely at-risk Covid needs were at the top of the list. When it became apparent, the vaccinated still spread Covid and suffered breakthrough infections; he moved to set up monoclonal antibody infusion stations across his state. The infusions have proven to reduce hospitalizations and deaths significantly. The Governor put treatments in reach of every Floridian. Because of the difficulty of use, there wasn’t widespread utilization of these effective therapeutics before this.

However, DeSantis has to take to direct purchase. This action was because the Biden administration had taken control of these drugs and cut Florida’s allotment, leading to a continuing battle between Florida and the Administration. 

Why this animosity between the administration and the Governor? From the pandemic’s beginning, there has been a difference between those advocating widespread lockdowns and those favoring a more targeted approach. While many blue states went with extended lockdowns, including closed schools, Florida took the targeted approach favored by the signers of the Great Barrington Declaration.

The principal lockdown advocate has led the attack on the targeted advice. The Biden Administration retained Dr. Anthony Fauci as its chief medical advisor. He and NIH head Dr. Colins demeaned the eminent signers of the Declaration as “fringe.” Comparing two similarly populated states, New York and Florida, indicates better policy. 

Even though there are 14% more Floridians, deaths are about the same. However, Florida has far more people above 65. This fact means it should have many more deaths. Only Florida’s better approach reversed expectations.;

DeSantis’ success in Florida shines a bright light on who was always right. Hence the continuing attacks on the Governor by the Democrats and their media allies.  

It’s bizarre that my relatives in Florida have a better chance of survival simply because they have a Governor who followed the data and acted appropriately. The administration’s failure to obtain tests and therapeutics quickly results in preventable deaths. I hope we won’t add to the totals because of Biden’s failures.

Our children’s education and emotional losses speak to the disaster of lockdowns. Even with omicron’s spread, nobody wants to go back to lockdowns. A targeted policy is the only option. The only question is, why are Dr. Fauci and other lockdown advocates who have failed to provide timely help still in positions of power? Haven’t they done enough harm?

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