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Emmy Griffin / January 11, 2022

What Does ‘New Normal’ Mean?

Hint: It doesn’t mean going back to pre-pandemic life.

This pandemic is now endemic. We will have to learn to live with COVID as a risk we factor into everyday life. This is the conclusion to which even the federal government has finally conceded. But some have a very different take on what the “new normal” should look like.

Omicron is spreading fast, though it is more mild than other COVID variants. Omicron has infected vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. The only benefit (though an important one) that the jab seems to have is that the symptoms are less severe. On December 28, President Joe Biden finally admitted that the pandemic cannot be solved at the federal level. Yet he still clings to the fallacious idea that this is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Not a week later, Biden doubled down on his intent to defeat the virus. He asserted: “Having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay. COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID.”

The president seems unwilling for this crisis to end because with it, his excuse to grab emergency power ends as well.

An essay penned by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (the architect of ObamaCare), Dr. Michael Osterholm, and Dr. Celine R. Gounder outlines the steps the president can take to establish a “new normal.” (If these names sound familiar, it’s because they were former advisers to President Biden.)

First, they want everyone to admit that COVID is here to stay, but they also assure their readers that they are not proposing getting rid of the “zero COVID” policy altogether.

The essay does have some reasonable ideas that really have been a positive change during the pandemic. These include “institutionalizing telemedicine waivers, licensure to practice and enable billing across state lines, and other measures that allow the flow of medical services to severely affected regions should be a priority.” They also want to clarify that, yes, COVID is a respiratory illness like other endemic illnesses such as influenza or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As such, it should be lumped into a new category to include all such respiratory diseases.

They were making decent sense … and then they ruined it.

The doctors propose people receive cards that log their vaccination status, i.e., vaccine passports. These passports are merely virtue signals at this point — plus they are rife with authoritarian abuse. We are already seeing this crop up in cities that require vaccine passports. The unvaccinated are treated like second-class citizens. That, of course, is the point. Those who are pushing vax passes want to make life as difficult as possible for the unvaxxed in an attempt to bully them into compliance. Vaccine passports are not a good plan.

The authors also want to make the COVID vaccine a requirement for school-aged children. As an example, they bring up polio, the vaccine for which prevents people from getting it. Conversely, the COVID vaccine does not prevent you from getting SARS-CoV-2. As Philip Klein notes at National Review: “Public-school mandates have typically involved vaccines such as MMR (against measles, mumps, and rubella), which offers lifetime protection. The current Covid vaccines have shown waning efficacy after a few months.”

Furthermore, the COVID vaccine has not been around long enough for us to know the long-term effects it could have on children.

This “new normal” is not normal at all. We are merely in a less panicky, more resigned, but still authoritarian-laden pandemic.

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