Americans are done with Covid-19, but Covid-19 doesn’t care, it isn’t done with you.
The New York Times reports, Only a third of Americans were worried about the pandemic in April, even as new cases rose, a new poll finds.
About 31 percent of American adults said in April that they were “very” or “somewhat worried” about contracting the coronavirus, according to a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday, indicating that about two-thirds was not as worried, even as new confirmed cases began to rise steadily across the United States.
The survey was conducted between April 15 and April 23, at a time when new cases were increasing after plummeting from highs seen during the winter Omicron surge. On April 15, the daily average of new confirmed cases reported across the country was 37,003, according to a New York Times database. By April 23, new cases had risen to a daily average of 46,545. Experts say that confirmed case numbers could be undercounted, with an increasing reliance on at-home tests, whose results are not always officially reported.
Rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations likely mean we’re in a new phase of the pandemic. Another COVID Surge is Here, But It May Be Less Severe:
The number of Americans dying from COVID-19 is also anticipated to grow, although the surge in the short term is not expected to look like previous waves.
That’s the takeaway from a team of experts from Johns Hopkins University, who told reporters Tuesday that, in the short term, this new surge is not expected to be as severe as previous waves. But, they said, that all could change.
Cases rose threefold in the last several weeks compared to a 25% increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, said David Dowdy, MD, PhD.
Dowdy predicted death rates will also rise. Those numbers typically follow hospitalization rates by a few weeks, “but we’re not going to see them skyrocket,” he said.
COVID-19 still kills an average of 300 Americans per day, so we’re not done with the pandemic yet, said Dowdy, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “People are still dying of COVID and we can’t rule out the possibility of a major wave in the coming months.”
More Milder Cases
On a more positive note, Dowdy said the average case of COVID-19 is getting milder over time.
“This is probably more because we as a population are building up the immunity, not because the variants are necessarily getting milder on their own,” Dowdy said.
Although good news for most, he added, “What this means is that for people who are still unvaccinated, don’t have that immunity built up, or who have weakened immune systems, this virus is still a very dangerous and deadly one.”
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“On some level, we also all just need to maintain some degree of respect for this virus, recognizing that we could get sicker than the person next to us,” Dowdy said.
More Cases During Milder Weather?
When asked if we could face a summer surge that would require a return to preventive measures like masks and isolation, Dowdy said, “It’s important for us to realize that in some ways we are already in the midst of a surge.”
He said there are indicators that the level of coronavirus transmission in the U.S. now is about the same as we experienced during the Delta wave and almost as high as the surge during the first winter of the pandemic.
“We’re seeing a small uptick but not the same tremendous rise that we’ve seen with some of these previous waves,” Dowdy said.
“I think in some ways this is encouraging. We’re starting to see a divergence between the number of cases and the number of hospitalizations and deaths,” Dowdy said. “But it’s also a little bit discouraging that we’ve been through all this and we’re still seeing an uptick and in the number of people getting admitted to the hospital.”
Dowdy added, “So we are seeing a surge. Whether that’s going to require us to go back to the more restrictive policies, I think, still remains to be seen.”
The new subvariant spreading throughout the country is called BA.2.12.1. Like I can remember that! A new COVID-19 variant is on the rise; health experts expect surge:
“We don’t know exactly why, but it’s anywhere, almost 30% more able to spread compared to the previous version. And that’s why it basically outperforms the older versions,” said Dr. Ansorg.
He says there have been surges of the virus each summer and winter since the pandemic began.
“The Omicron was in January and then now in the spring, now it’s already soon summer. So I’m afraid, probably around September, October, we might see something maybe a little later,” added Dr. Ansorg.
People who became sick with the Omicron variant earlier in the year can become sick again with BA.2.12.1.
Dr. Ansorg said the original vaccine is not enough to fight off this surge, but there are new boosters in the works. “The companies, especially Pfizer and Moderna, are really working on a booster that will really be more potent against future variants,” he said.
So what is Congress doing to prepare for the next predictable surges of Covid-19 this summer and this coming fall/winter? Republicans, who loudly object that “We are done with Covid-19!,” are holding the next round of Covid-19 federal aid hostage to their 2022 election strategy of anti-immigranti hysteria “white fright” over Title 42. They are once again sabotaging recovery efforts from the Coronvirus Pandemic, this time over their white nationalist anti-immigrant hatred.
The Washingon Post’s Paul Waldman writes, Once again, GOP hostage-taking is on the verge of working:
Here’s what “bipartisanship” looks like these days: Republicans hold important legislation protecting all Americans hostage, and Democrats give in to GOP demands and hand the hostage-takers a policy victory. [The entire Mitch McConnell era.]
In this case it concerns Title 42, a section of public health law that the Trump administration used as the basis for a rule that deported pretty much all asylum seekers. The argument was that amid the pandemic, asylum-seeking migrants posed a public health risk, so they were expelled without the hearing that is their legal right.
After indefensibly continuing this policy, the Biden administration planned to end it some time this month. But Republicans squawked that allowing asylum seekers to have cases heard would allow too many foreigners into the country, even though most asylum claims are ultimately rejected.
Moderate [Vichy] Democrats, spooked by the GOP attacks, are demanding a vote on a bill that would effectively codify that Title 42 rule into law for the foreseeable future. This [appeasement] is playing into GOP hands: Republicans are insisting they will filibuster the covid-19 aid package badly wanted by the White House until they get a vote on an amendment that would put that border policy into place.
Now Politico reports that Democratic leaders may feel no choice but to give into that demand.
That’s right: To deal with an ongoing pandemic that has killed around 1 million Americans, Democrats must deal a blow to the asylum system, keeping the United States’ doors closed to those fleeing oppression and violence.
The amendment that will come to the floor will probably be based on a three-page bill introduced by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and other senators. It’s significant that these senators barely mention the health justification for the use of Title 42 in their statements about it: No one pretends that extending it is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. Instead, what the proponents want to stop is more people seeking asylum.
This is creating a truly terrible situation with no obvious answers. For immigration advocates, the fear is that Democrats are getting bum-rushed by Republicans into locking in a situation that will ultimately make it even harder to rationalize our immigration system later.
The Sinema-Lankford bill would require that the administration’s covid national emergency declaration be lifted before there’s an end to mass expulsions of asylum-seeking migrants without hearings.
Emails we obtained show Trump White House aide Stephen Miller spearheaded the use of Title 42 to expel undocumented migrants at the border under the guise of fighting the pandemic.https://t.co/UJDXHVoVWI
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) May 11, 2022
But the problem is that this replicates what was so terrible about the Title 42 rule. That order used a public health policy to manage immigration flows, which is indefensible in policy terms. Yet this measure would codify that, making it a matter of federal law that these two things are linked.
Kerri Talbot, deputy director for the Immigration Hub, points out that this would inextricably tie covid designations to the mission of border management over the long term.
“We need those health care designations for our response to covid,” Talbot told us, noting that this would “politicize those designations by tying them to border policy,” and even “put this into law.”
What’s more, this could lock in dramatic restrictions on asylum seeking for the foreseeable future, given that this covid emergency declaration might be with us for some time.
“If the end of Title 42 is tied to the covid public health emergency, then it could be years before the right to seek asylum is restored in full,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy analyst at the American Immigration Council, told us.
What makes this so galling is that it might not even be necessary from the standpoint of moderate Democrats themselves.
Later this week, a federal judge is widely expected to block the administration from lifting the Title 42 policy, as part of a lawsuit brought by GOP-controlled states against Biden’s move. That would give those moderate Democrats an out.
moderate [Vichy] Democrats are craven cowards and appeasers of the white Christian Nationalist Republicans.
But that doesn’t appear to be enough for them. All indications are that they also want to vote to codify this in law, in the belief that it will insulate them from GOP attacks in the midterms.
They are also morons if they believe this.
“Republicans want to end asylum as we know it,” Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, told us. “The Lankford-Sinema bill is the Republican vehicle to do this. And moderate Democrats are playing along. They don’t have to.”
In fairness, this is not an easy situation for Democratic leaders. Everyone wants to secure that covid aid to prepare for future surges [do they really? Republicans are Covid deniers], and it may not be possible to get Republicans to support this without a vote on codifying the Title 42 policy.
But here again the advocates raise an objection: If Republicans insist on codifying that, Democrats might try to extract concessions on immigration in exchange, such as protections for “dreamers” brought here as young children.
“They’re essentially trading away border policy and not moving forward on legalization,” Talbot told us.
Yet at the same time, Democrats may not have any other choice, as long as Republicans insist they’ll only support covid aid in exchange for codifying the Title 42 policy. There are no indications that Republicans are willing to make broader immigration changes a part of this exchange.
As a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told us: “They’re the ones who are holding hostage the covid relief that Americans desperately need.”
So Americans are going to continue to die from new variant surges of Covid-19 this summer and this coming fall/winter because of Republicans’ 2022 Midterm Election strategy of anti-immigrant hysteria “white Fright.” Every one of those Americans who will die as a result is a death on the hands of Republicans. They already have the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans on their hands with their Covid denying anti-masker, anti-vaxxer, quackery medicine remedies insanity.
And there are no indications that Republicans are paying a political price for any of it.
Now that you know, you can make Republicans and Sens. James Lankford and Kyrsten Sinema pay a political price for trying to codify Stephen Miller’s white nationalist anti-immigrant policy.