Report: Biden No-Shows COVID Coordinating Calls with Governors, Meetings Led By...Andrew Cuomo

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Posted: Apr 28, 2021 10:10 AM
Report: Biden No-Shows COVID Coordinating Calls with Governors, Meetings Led By...Andrew Cuomo

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

We'll get to Biden in a moment, but first some thoughts on policy and messaging. US administration of Johnson & Johnson's safe, effective, one-dose vaccine was paused for more than a week by regulators, based on concerns about exceptionally rare potential blood clotting side effects. After a review, which found just 15 such cases out of the eight million Americans who'd received the J&J shot, the pause was lifted late last week, with a warning. Was this "abundance of caution"-inspired policy the right move, or a mistake? We've argued that it was the wrong call, likening it to Europe's AstraZeneca fiasco. Some have pointed to data that many Americans viewed the pause positively, with one pollster saying his focus groups found the extra care to be confidence-inspiring – but as I wrote at the time, the key factor would be how unvaccinated and vaccine-skeptical Americans react to it. As feared, the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll appears to give us a sense of how that's playing out: 


Obviously, the initial tweet was heavy on sarcasm, but how far off is its message, really? The president continues to double mask, even having been double-vaxxed before he took office. The powers that be are just now getting around to updating their (still absurd) outdoor masking mandate guidance. Those same powers that be chose to react to a microscopic possible J&J side effect risk, which might impact a fraction of the population writ large, and freeze the whole thing for a week-plus, nationwide. And now – surprise – three-quarters of non-vaccinated Americans say they would refuse that vaccine if it were offered to them. With the so-called "vaccine wall" (when we run out of vaccine-enthusiastic or -positive Americans to jab) already approaching, the confidence-shaking J&J pause seems to have come at an inopportune time: 


A reminder of the scope of "risk" that prompted the pause: 


As for ongoing vaccine hesitancy in the US, it's shown up most prominently in the data among young people, African Americans and especially conservatives (men in particular). Here's a Biden administration official making the point that in spite of media coverage that might lead people to believe that most Republicans are refusing to get the shot, the truth is that most right-leaners are either already vaccinated, willing to get a vaccine, or are open to it: 


It would be very helpful for achieving herd immunity quickly and stamping out the pandemic to convince some of the GOP-aligned holdouts (approximately one-in-three) to get vaccinated. We know they won't be persuaded by media shaming or yet another television appearance from Fauci. If such persuasion is possible, it will need to come from people other than the brain trust that has brought us the messaging and decisions highlighted above. I'll leave you with this nugget from a RealClearPolitics report: 


How might this have been covered under the previous administration, especially if the president and vice president were delegating the job to a scandal-plagued governor with one of the worst COVID records in the world? Speaking of which, here's a bonus compare-and-contrast case study, followed by some conspiratorial trutherism from people who can't handle reality: 


As a reminder, there has been one bona fide US scandal on COVID data reporting, and that was in New York, at the hands of the man Biden has put in charge of state-level coordination. Good work, everyone.  I'll leave you with Nate Silver debunking a leftist Florida conspiracy theory using data we've highlighted too: