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The Last Covidians

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Last week, Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Coronavirus Response Director, claimed that the hundreds of daily U.S. deaths from (or with) Covid-19 “would go to close to zero” if every person “was up to date on their vaccines and people got treated with Paxlovid as they're supposed to.”


My tweet of his video clip garnered a well-deserved and much-expected ratio, with far more quote tweets and responses than likes or retweeets. However, while the vast majority of respondents who were critical of Jha came from Team Reality (given the political leanings of my followers, that was no surprise), several more came from Branch Covidians angry at Jha - one of their own - for supposedly not emphasizing avoiding Covid altogether and taking Covid measures like masking.

Similarly, Dr. Leana Wen of CNN fame, a subject of frequent and deserved ire from the right for previous tyrannical positions on vaccine mandates, has recently come under Covidian fire for calls to end mandates and get things back to normal.

“Though CDC has aligned COVID guidance to meet where most Americans are, there are some who promote continued restrictions,” Wen wrote on Twitter last week. “Are they consistent themselves, always masking indoors, forgoing indoor events/dining, etc? If not, hypocrisy fuels further distrust in public health.”

If you read through her responses and quote tweets, you’ll likely see an equal amount of criticism from both sides of this issue, including this gem:

“I’m proudly one of those people and am entirely consistent but I’m afraid I’m the last one left.  Not only do I promote restrictions, I want them MANDATED and NOW! No restaurants, no concerts, no nonsense - enough is enough and this nightmare must end ONCE AND FOR ALL!” bleated Chad Goldsmith in what became a deservedly ratioed tweet.


If only Goldsmith WERE the “last one left.” Professor Francois Balloux of the UCL Genetics Institute summarized and warned against the backlash against Wen and others of a similar mindset in a tweet thread, calling out “radical activists” who still support “harsh restrictions” to contain the virus and are trying to cancel the CNN medical analyst for seemingly wanting to move on. Wen herself retweeted Balloux’s analysis.

“There is an 'activist' public health movement - in particular in the US - calling for harsh restrictions to suppress Covid-19,” Balloux wrote. “Their rhetoric is getting increasingly strident, which leads to considerable engagement, but not necessarily, predominately, of a positive kind.”

After noting attempts to cancel a lecture by Wen based on her recent Covid positions, Balloux continued: “More generally, radical Covid activists may wish to reflect on the wisdom of the wonderful Thomas Sowell (who no one may accuse to having been on the payroll of the Koch brothers, or having been government stooge). ‘There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.’ Covid-19 was a major shock to the system. The system is reeling. Destroying it, or rejigging it entirely around Covid-19 avoidance may sound appealing to some, but it is not a viable solution to reduce overall morbidity, mortality, and peoples' prospects and happiness.”

Both of these examples bolster what many of us on Team Reality see on Twitter every day - a small but loud segment of the population who reside even to the left of the likes of Leana Wen and Ashish Jha on Covid policy, who would be far more at home wearing three masks in a Shanghai quarantined skyscraper than living a normal life like, fortunately, much of the rest of the world (except for China, of course) seems to be headed. Like the Japanese soldiers who spent decades on islands ‘fighting’ an enemy that had already won, they’ve lost all connection with reality.


What drives these people? Why do perpetually masked, triple-vaxxed Covidians STILL refuse to admit that Covid is unstoppable regardless of what any of us do? Are they all just insane hypochondriacs? We use the term Branch Covidian in jest, but have they truly become cult members unable to see any semblance of logic or reality? Why did someone like Leana Wen, a CNN leftist and former Planned Parenthood president, somehow begin to see sense on this issue when so many others still haven’t? I suspect a lot of it is probably politics and the ability to determine that most of the public is done with Covid, but even if that’s the case it’s still light years beyond where so many Covidians still reside.

Sure, humans naturally hate the idea of expending tremendous worry and effort over a long period of time only to find out it was all for nothing. Many will resist believing that at all costs, especially when introduced to the possibility that their actions over the past 2.5 years not only haven't done any good, but have actually been harmful. That's a tough pill to swallow, and you won’t ever see the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci, or even Dr. Leana Wen, going down that road. But, at least for now, she and an increasing number of others are willing to go down the road to normalcy. Should we forgive and forget her previous awful positions on vaccine mandates? I’m not saying that, but until the political climate exists for a Nuremberg 2, normalcy will have to do.


Maybe it’s a good thing there are loud Covidians out there still bleating for “zero-Covid” and Chinese-like restrictions. They serve to remind the rest of us what could have happened had we submitted to the dictates of an incompetent, tyrannical, unscientific, power-hungry medical establishment.

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