OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Against the backdrop of the end of the Biden Administration’s first year in office, we are seeing positive signs of a shift in the way it is fighting the COVID pandemic.
On more and more occasions, the administration has adopted a more balanced approach that the left so harshly criticized during the lockdowns across the country and that red states, such as Florida, have enthusiastically embraced.
Isn’t it fair to ask why, after two years of advocating this commonsense approach, the Biden administration is suddenly on board?
The answer is ‘reality.’
Despite his best efforts, Biden has fallen short of the expectations he set for himself, and Americans have noticed.
You can’t ignore reality.
His repeated – and very passionate – campaign promise to ‘shut down the virus’ has given way to his admission that, in reality, ‘there is no federal solution.
It is now evident that Biden’s claim that Donald Trump has personally caused 220,000 pandemic deaths and that ‘anyone responsible for that many deaths should not remain president’ cannot stand up to the reality of more than 400,000 COVID deaths since Trump took office.
It is a shame that Biden’s promise of a ‘national strategy’ to defeat COVID has fallen short due to the reality that the only meaningful strategy he came up with was to force Americans to accept the vaccines developed under the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed – the same vaccines he had previously decried as unsafe during his campaign.
In spite of Biden’s election campaign rhetoric appearing disingenuous today, that was not the same 13 months ago.
Exit polling found that 66 percent of voters who rated the coronavirus pandemic as the top issue as significant voted for Biden. That may have won him the election, but it does not give him any credit now that the election is over.
A recent Monmouth University poll shows that 46 percent of Americans believe Biden has handled the pandemic well. In April, 62 percent said he handled the pandemic well.
The numbers are the lowest Biden has received since taking office, and the situation is unlikely to improve if the Omicron variant spreads widely.
Biden’s campaign claimed that he would ‘shut down’ the virus, but many realized that he wasn’t setting realistic expectations; his goal was to get votes.
There was no concern for political consequences or credibility, but rather to defeat President Trump. However, Biden was expected to handle our response to the virus at least competently.
Yet he hasn’t.
It is still difficult for people to find something as basic as the COVID test a year into the Biden presidency.
‘I cannot believe this is where we are almost two years into the pandemic. Everybody saw it coming. We knew we needed more tests. I think the administration had dropped the ball on this,’ said Professor Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.
A shortage of monoclonal antibody treatments, which are effective against the Omicron variant, has also been reported, although the FDA first approved them for emergency use in November of 2020.
Under our federal system, it is largely up to state governors to decide when and whether to impose lockouts and other social distancing measures. In addition to stockpiling diagnostic tests, therapeutics, and other medical countermeasures, the federal government is also responsible for storing pharmaceuticals.
There has been consistent interference by the Biden administration in the first, where it does not belong, and neglect in the second. As a result, there are fewer tests and therapeutics available.
Surgeon General of Florida Joseph Ladapo recently wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to claim the Biden administration was ‘actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments.’
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services also criticized the availability of monoclonal antibodies, stating that local infusion centers had ‘exhausted their supply . . . due to the national shortage from the federal government.’ Other states, such as Maine and New York, are also experiencing shortages.
What accounts for the Biden administration’s gross failure to even meet limited expectations in the fight against COVID?
The Left viewed the pandemic more as an opportunity for implementing radical leftist policies than as a problem that needed a solution.
James Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip in the early stages of the pandemic, described it as ‘a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’
Candidate Biden expressed support for this approach early on, saying the pandemic was an ‘incredible opportunity to not just dig out of this crisis but to fundamentally transform the country.’
Democrats focus on not letting ‘a serious crisis go to waste,’ so perhaps it is not surprising that the COVID response of Biden’s administration has been so disastrous.
Imagine what would have happened if the Biden administration had put the same amount of effort into COVID tests and monoclonal antibody treatments as Operation Warp Speed.
Fortunately, the Biden administration’s attempt to ‘fundamentally transform’ America has hit a snag or is at least stalling.
Democrats managed to pass the $1.9 trillion ‘Covid Relief’ bill, which had little to do with COVID relief and was primarily about inflating prices to the point that Americans can’t ignore them anymore.
Joe Manchin (D-WV) noticed and has effectively killed Biden’s bill, which would have burdened our nation with too much debt and spending, as well as socialist entitlements that would all but ruin our free-market capitalism.
As Omicron spreads across the heavily vaccinated, masked, socially distant, and largely blue Northeast – making it difficult to blame evil unvaccinated Trump voters – the American people are growing increasingly frustrated with the Left’s persistent attempt to use COVID to fundamentally transform our nation.
The Biden administration appears to have noticed since its COVID narrative has changed.
In fighting the pandemic, we are hearing less of ‘following the science’ as the only rule to follow.
Like most red states, the administration has decided to address the Omicron outbreak by considering socioeconomic factors as well as epidemiological factors.
According to the Center for Disease Control, for example, the quarantine period for people with COVID and no symptoms has been shortened from 10 to 5 days.
According to Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, ‘one of the things that we want to be careful of is that we don’t have so many people out. We want to get people back to the jobs, particularly the essential jobs, to keep society running smoothly.’
That sounds familiar.
The governor of Florida stated in August that ‘We are not shutting down.’ We are going to have schools open. We are protecting every Floridian’s job in this state. We are protecting people’s small businesses.’
As a result of his previous statements, take his remarks with a grain of salt, but Biden said his administration would not fight Omicron ‘with shutdowns or lockdowns,’ and without a ‘federal solution,’ the administration will rely more on the states to deal with the pandemic.
There’s a positive shift and it may be taking off.
Eric Adams, the new Democratic mayor of New York City, promised Monday that he would do everything possible to keep kids in class, even as staff shortages threaten to shut schools down.
‘It’s time to live with COVID and build systems around COVID until it dissipates and leaves us. Until then, the city has to operate,’ he said.
For quite a while, life has been fairly normal in red states, specifically Florida and Texas.
The political situation has made it difficult for people in the rest of the country due to fear-mongering and politics.
Yet, we can finally put an end to this terrible period in our lives if the Biden administration changes its ineffective and authoritarian COVID policies, embraces reality, and views this pandemic more as a problem to solve than an opportunity.