This evening, Joe Biden is scheduled to address the nation on the very important subject of the COVID pandemic. The announcement, along with some of the leaked details, already has many people in the media breathless with anticipation and giddy with excitement. Take, for example, this report from Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Bill Barrow at the Associated Press. Biden’s action plan is described as being a “multidimensional strategy” that will put the country “on a path to recovery” during his first 100 days in office. The plan contains what’s described as a “widely anticipated game-changing element.” Holy cow! Now even I’m excited. This is going to be awesome. Let’s see what Uncle Joe is planning.
A coronavirus action plan being unveiled by President-elect Joe Biden centers on a mass vaccination campaign and closer coordination among all levels of government…
Biden hopes his multidimensional strategy, expected to be detailed in a Thursday evening speech, will put the country on the path to recovery by the end of his first 100 days. “It’s going to be hard,” Biden said Monday after he got his second vaccine shot. “It’s not going to be easy. But we can get it done.”
A more disciplined focus on vaccination is the new and widely anticipated game-changing element, but that’s far from the whole story. Biden is asking Americans to override their sense of pandemic fatigue and recommit to wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding indoor gatherings, particularly larger ones.
So to summarize, there are four basic elements to Biden’s revolutionary strategy for taming the pandemic. They are:
- Vaccinate as many people as possible
- Ask everyone to wear face masks
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid indoor gatherings
Wow. How did nobody else think of this before? We’re going to have this pandemic thing whipped in no time at all! (Insert the “end sarcasm” hashtag here.)
In other words, Joe Biden is going to announce that he is going to promote exactly the same things that have been pushed by Donald Trump and nearly every governor and big-city mayor around the country for the past ten months. There won’t even be any actual mandates or laws coming from the federal level, for which we can at least be thankful. Biden is just going to “ask” everyone to do the same things they’ve been told to do by so many state and municipal officials. And now, those who have been pushing back on face mask and social distancing requirements will presumably all toe the line because Uncle Joe asked them nicely.
And even if this “new” plan is fully implemented, he’s not saying it will beat the pandemic in his first 100 days. Only that it will “put us on a path” to recovery by then. How long is that path? Precisely as long as it already is.
The only reason that there are two vaccines in mass production already is because of Operation Warp Speed, set in place by President Trump and expedited by the CDC and FDA at his direction. (A third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson may go into production shortly. That was also created entirely under Operation Warp Speed.)
Further, the vaccines are being shipped around the country as fast as can be managed, based on the allocation plans created by the state and municipal governments. It would be nice if someone could ride shotgun over some of the more incompetent state leaders to streamline distribution, but there’s no suggestion that Biden plans to read any of them the riot act and fix their distribution systems.
Joe Biden can “ask Americans to override their sense of pandemic fatigue” until he’s blue in the face. We’re already long past being sick of this nonsense. The people who are inclined to go along with the guidelines and practices issued by the CDC are already doing it, though perhaps there are fewer of them now. Do you honestly think the people who are refusing are suddenly going to have a change of heart just because Joe Biden is squatting in the Oval Office?
Joe Biden doesn’t have a “new” plan to deal with the pandemic. He’s never had a new plan. He ran his home basement campaign over the late summer and early fall of last year almost entirely on criticizing Donald Trump for not handling the pandemic well enough. And now that he’s preparing to enter office, he’s going to keep doing exactly what Trump did, virtually word for word.