Americans have lived with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost three years now. Much of the country has moved on and accepted that the virus is likely here to stay, as polls show. Yet CNN doesn't seem to have been able to move on, as their Wednesday piece by Faye Chiu makes clear. "Should you attend that New Year’s Eve party? Our medical analyst weighs in," Chiu's headline reads.
"A lot of people have plans to attend social functions, whether they are crowded festivities with thousands or house parties with a few relatives and friends," she begins her piece by acknowledging, before going on to warn about a "triple threat" of RSV, the flu, and COVID.
Chiu really gins up the hysteria with a flurry of questions about what readers should have on their minds. As one paragraph reads:
What should you consider in deciding whether to attend New Year’s Eve parties? How can you gauge the risk of specific events? Are there individuals who may want to take more precautions, and which mitigation measures can reduce risk if they go? If you find out later that an attendee was ill, when should you test afterward to make sure you are in the clear? And what happens if you develop symptoms after an event?
The analyst in question is Dr. Leana Wen, though her expert advice is pretty commonsense when it comes to being asked "what should people consider in deciding whether to attend New Year’s Eve parties?"
For instance, it comes down to a person's risk and the risk of those in their household. "If everyone is generally healthy and you have already resumed other aspects of pre-pandemic activities, it might be reasonable to do the same for New Year’s get-togethers. But if someone is elderly or severely immunocompromised, you may wish to take additional precautions," Dr. Wen responds.
Such has only been a consistent theme throughout the entire pandemic, as such viruses are a particular risk for the elderly and immunocompromised.
Dr. Wen also goes on to mention weighing "the importance of these events to you, compared with the importance of avoiding infection." Again, we've dealt with this pandemic for almost three years now, with too much time spent facing lockdowns and/or shame and blame for living our lives and trying to maintain some sense of normalcy.
Another point of consideration that Dr. Wen mentions is as to if there is "a specific timing issue for which you really don’t want to get sick heading into the new year," which again, seems like an obvious consideration to keep in mind.
Additional obvious questions with obvious answers are involved, including how when it comes to how people can "gauge the risk," that the more people there are, the more risk of infection there might be.
Dr. Wen also repeats the same tired points about indoor versus outdoor events and how the requirement of negative tests might be a source of mitigation.
When it comes to mitigation, there are some thoughtful points, such as washing your hands and bringing hand sanitizer. But then Dr. Wen gets into the suggestion to "stand near windows and try to stay away from crowds, especially if people are gathering in areas that aren’t well-ventilated" as well as "wear[ing] a high-quality N95 or equivalent mask during the event."
The last few questions delve into what people should do if they find out they were exposed, or experience symptoms.
Dr. Wen's response tellingly reminds people that just because one has COVID symptoms doesn't mean that they have that particular virus, as they could be experiencing the flu and/or RSV and well.
"Otherwise, the advice is the same as pre-pandemic: Refrain from going to public places while symptomatic. Use standard measures to treat viral syndromes — such as fluids, rest, fever-reducing medicines and other symptom-based treatment," the interview and piece closes with.
In order words, it's more of the same of what we've been hearing for years now, even before the pandemic, and it amounts to using common sense.
CNN's Twitter account shared it at least twice since it was published, with our friends at Twitchy highlighting how the responses mostly amount to laughing off such so-called advice.
I don’t know if I “should,” but I’m going to. We never know how many opportunities we will have to spend time with family & friends. I’m not wasting those opportunities.— Elaine Batt (@elainebatt3) December 29, 2022
I refuse to be so scared of dying that I forget to live.
If you need a CNN "medical analyst" to make basic social decisions for you, please just stay home— Nicole Wants to #ModernizeOurLaw (@Nicole_in_DC) December 28, 2022
During his Christmas speech last week, the president also mentioned that "COVID lon--no longer controls our lives."