What mandate?: Pelosi unmasks for photo with new congressman

But it’s Kevin McCarthy who’s the “moron,” eh?

She was also unmasked at the podium for her press conference on Wednesday for reasons that remain unclear to me. I assume she’d say it was because no reporters were within six feet of her at the time, but the six-foot rule is arbitrary. Aerosols can travel much further than that. And they can linger in the air, meaning that Pelosi may have walked into a cloud of viral particles left by whoever was in that space shortly before her.

Today she was shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers and unmasked again. She’s 81 years old. What the hell is she doing?

Is there a mandate in effect in indoor spaces for House members or is that only for Republicans?

And what kind of mask is that? Is it cloth? That’s the least degree of protection a person can have, especially in the age of Delta:

An 81-year-old should be wearing an N95, I’d think, even if vaccinated. A breakthrough infection is a potential crisis for someone who’s elderly in a way that it isn’t for younger vaccinated people.

In fact, seniors might be at enough risk from Delta that we should look past masking and consider more serious precautions. Scott Gottlieb thinks it’s booster time for America’s olds:

Israel just approved a third dose for people over 60, fearing that the immunity they gained six months ago from their first shot has begun to wane at a dangerous moment. But boosters are still off-limits for the moment in the U.S. — if you do things by the book. I wrote 10 days ago that it was a matter of time before risk-averse people began fibbing their way into getting third doses, knowing that there’s no central authority tracking whether they’re already vaccinated or not. It’s easy to walk into a pharmacy chain, fully vaccinated, and tell the tech that you’re there for your first dose.

According to the NYT, some are already doing it:

“You can’t get enough, that’s my feeling,” said Ida Thompson, a retired geology professor who got a Pfizer shot a few weeks ago in the United States, months after receiving two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Britain. “Bring it on.”

Dr. Thompson, who has six grandchildren, said that her decision to get a booster happened at the spur of the moment. While getting a coronavirus test at a pharmacy in Florida, where she was visiting family, she saw the pharmacy was offering vaccines.

When a pharmacy employee asked whether this was her first or second shot, she said first. “Since it was my first Pfizer,” Dr. Thompson said. “It was pretty clear to me that A.Z. plus Pfizer was a good idea,” she added, after reading about a study on the benefits of mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

The FDA has a dilemma in deciding whether to take Gottlieb’s advice and approve boosters for older people. If they hold off, they risk having immunity fade in nursing-home residents just as Delta is making its way across the country, a bad combination. But if they okay third doses, they could spook the vaccine holdouts whom they’re trying to convince to get their first doses. The more onerous the vaccination regime becomes, with three shots suddenly on the menu instead of two, the more refuseniks might dig in.

Meanwhile, although it seems unlikely that we’d run into a supply problem at this point, the national numbers show vaccinations rising lately. America has topped 700,000 doses in each of the past two days, the first time we’ve done that since July 3. If the FDA orders boosters at a moment when more holdouts are caving and getting their shots — and more employer mandates are being issued to bring others off the fence — potentially there could be local bottlenecks where demand momentarily outstrips supply.

I think the boosters should be approved, trusting and hoping that the various other incentives in place to convince refuseniks will outweigh the deterrent effect of ordering a third dose. But it’s a tough call.

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Jazz Shaw 8:31 AM on December 04, 2022