Dr. Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota adjunct professor who was a member of Biden’s transition team, delivered the news to CNN’s viewers on Tuesday.
“At that point let’s bring in, to share his expertise and his insight, Dr. Michael Osterholm, he’s an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota,” John King introduced him. “Dr. Osterholm, it’s god to see you. I want to start with the confusion of the moment. And I’m not saying it’s intentional, but you have some places mandating masks indoors. You just heard the New York City mayor saying, ‘I recommend masks indoors.’ You have CDC guidelines, you have some Republican governors saying, ‘Hell no, we will not allow any mandates.’ Where are we?”
“First of all, we’re in a very unfortunate situation,” Dr. Osterholm said. “We’ve really brought this country to a point of confusion, which really misses the main point that we should be focusing on vaccine, vaccine, and vaccine.”
“You know, I wish we could get rid of the term ‘masking’ because, in fact, it implies anything you put in front of your face works,” he said.
I want people to savor the magnitude of that statement: “It implies anything you put in front of your face work.” It is a concession that critics have been railing against the ‘experts’ to make for 18 months. Unfortunately, the doctor had a more draconian ‘remedy’ in mind.
“And if I could just add a nuance to that, which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion, is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” Dr. Osterholm continued.
“Either you’re breathing out or you’re breathing in,” he continued. “In fact, if you’re in the Upper Midwest right now, anybody who is wearing a face cloth covering can tell you they can smell all the smoke that we’re still getting.”
Finally, we have some progress in the form of getting the the truth of the situation. But right when you think we’ve turned a corner and is about to wander into common sense territory, the doctor proposes that everyone now wear respirators. You can’t make this stuff up.
“We need to talk about better masking,” he said. “We need to talk about N-95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected, protecting them, as well as keeping others who might become infected having been vaccinated from breathing out the virus. So I think one of the things right now is we’ve got to get a better handle on what does protect people and what doesn’t.”
The problem is that even the fully vaccinated can spread the Delta variant to the fully vaccinated, as the CDC now concedes. So, despite the Delta variant being a small fraction as deadly as the original “wild” variant, it is more contagious. Therefore, it supplies a ready made rationale to return to masking, no wait, “respirating,” for the public.
The most dangerous phase of COVID, however, has passed. The 7-day average of COVID-related deaths in the United States is down to 454, which is under 2 deaths per million. Now, they want COVID vaccine passports? Now, they want us to wear N95 respirators? It doesn’t pass the smell test.