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Tipsheet

Watch: Dana Perino Goes Off on Biden White House's COVID Policy and Messaging

Screenshot via Fox News

Two straight minutes of polite, pointed, and potent professions of truthful frustration. Dana Perino is hardly a purveyor of political "red-meat." She considers her words before she speaks. She also knows a thing or two about political messaging. Team Biden would do themselves a real favor by sitting up and listening to what she said last evening on "The Five" – and it's short enough to accommodate even the vice president's reputed unwillingness to put in much preparation work: 

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She hits on several major points: First, the ongoing testing failure, which we've discussed several times in recent days. It's early 2022 and we still don't have enough COVID tests to meet the country's needs. It's an extraordinary debacle for which the Biden administration is responsible. As Katie and others have pointed out, how has this tweet from the current White House Chief of Staff aged? 


The Trump administration at least had the excuse of being totally sandbagged by a brand new virus, about which we knew very little in the early days – not to mention disastrous, initial bureaucratic mismanagement of testing at the CDC. Second, Perino assails rationalizations from senior Biden officials, like the vice president, who said that they didn't anticipate new and disruptive variants. This point was directly contradicted by the CDC director, and by seemingly endless months of public discussion surrounding emerging variants. Next, Perino takes aim at the public health establishment's "serious communications problem," crystallized by the embarrassing and confusing reversal the CDC has made on isolation times and the importance of testing negative after five days. They put out new guidance over the holidays, defended it against critics, then hinted that the critics were right and they'd make a change – and then landed on something truly preposterous

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You don't need a test after five days, but if you do take one (which Fauci says would be reasonable) and test positive, you should quarantine for five more days. Yet they still recommend the full ten days for kids, who are the lowest-risk demographic on the planet. What? What are they doing? This just about sums things up


I'd just add that the CDC director just recently downplayed the usefulness of PCR tests, too, saying they can result in positive results weeks after someone has recovered and is no longer contagious – yet those tests are still part of the equation on allowing people to travel to the United States. Finally, Perino sounds off on the president's continued insistence that we are living through a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," which is no longer true. A former top public health official is calling that assertion "incorrect" and a "disservice" to the discourse. It is absolutely true that vaccinated people are much more protected against severe COVID infections, hospitalizations and death, relative to the unvaccinated. That is an extremely important point that remains true, and still offers a powerful argument in favor of getting vaxxed: 

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But Omicron, in particular, is blowing through vaccinated people and has been for weeks. I personally know at least a dozen people who've gotten it, all of whom are vaccinated, and a few of whom were boosted, too. Pretending that the problem is really just unvaccinated individuals is not credible, as it does not reflect the reality that people are seeing all around them. That's the point Perino made – quite forcefully, by her standards – on the air. She's right, and this is right

The data still suggest that the vaccine provides short-term protection from infection and maybe very slight long-run protection against infection. More importantly, vaccination provides long-term protection from serious illness and death. That is, you should get vaccinated in order to reduce the odds that your inevitable COVID infection — or reinfection — will be serious enough to hospitalize you or kill you. Yes, a vast majority of COVID cases fall short of hospitalization and death and lead to a full recovery. (Scare stories about widespread “long COVID” seem under-substantiated.) But ask yourself whether whatever downsides you see in the vaccine are greater than the risk of death or hospitalization...Your odds of hospitalization or death go down by 90% or more if you get vaccinated.

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Extremely important data. And also not the same thing as just chanting "pandemic of the unvaccinated," given what we're all witnessing. Perino isn't alone in expressing frustrations over the way all of this is being communicated and framed by the people in charge: 


I'll leave you with this juxtaposition, per Politico reporting: 

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