The very rich, wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “are different from you and me.”
“Yes,” Ernest Hemingway replied, “they have more money. “
Neither author mentioned that money isn’t the only difference between the very rich and the rest of us. The people we consider to be at the top know next to nothing about us. How we live, what we think, what we believe, what we pray or hope for.
Replace Fitzgerald’s word “rich” with “mighty” and the sentiment holds. The powerful are different from you and me. They have more power. And they also have little idea of how the rest of us live, think, believe, pray, or hope.
Take the May 13 announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that vaccinated people no longer need masks, inside and out. The CDC gave no prior word to the states, which, in the absence of federal action, had led the response to COVID-19.
It seems the CDC greats had no idea what would happen next.
How do you know who is vaccinated and who is not? Who will apply the mask warrants for the unvaccinated? What happened to previous guidelines that vaccinated people continue to wear masks so that they do not become carriers of the disease i.e. Typhoid Mary of 2021? No one from the CDC answered any of these questions. Or dozens of others.
Within five days, 23 states had abandoned their mask mandates. Some had already completed their terms. And South Dakota, which has three times the infection rate of Maine and nearly four times our death rate, has never had a mask warrant. Governors of states such as Texas and Florida have abandoned warrants and have banned cities and towns from requiring local masking.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told CNN: “We are asking people to take charge of their health, to get vaccinated, and if they don’t, they continue to be at risk. For the unvaccinated, our policy has not changed. Nothing on the application of an unchanged policy. She said we are in a place “where the vaccinated people are going to be able to take off their mask (s).” We are fortunate to be there (now) with the science that we have.
Weird to hear the CDC talk about science. Michael Lewis reports in “The Premonition” that the CDC was not only indifferent to responding to COVID, but it had actively discouraged the response. Some frontline people – Lewis calls them redneck epidemiologists – have sent a proposed plan to the CDC for review. The plan is gone. Lewis writes that the CDC is good at research and report writing, but has no clue about disease control or prevention.
The CDC was more interested in CYA than fighting a rushing virus. And he’s covered his behind so well that he’s now claiming to have led the fight against COVID.
This is not the case. States and the National Institutes of Health have done so.
People who try to understand CDC politics aren’t the only ones who are confused. President Biden’s US bailout has sent billions of dollars to millions of people. Just as the country tries to reopen, employers, especially in hotel companies, are struggling to get laid-off workers to return to work or to get new ones to join.
Republicans in Congress and State Houses said it was because the extra $ 300 a week in unemployment benefits in Biden’s bill was so generous that no one would work when he could avoid work while being paid. To be sure, some people do just that. But studies last year showed that when the added benefit was $ 600 a week, hardly anyone stayed home if they could work. Republicans blaming the “Biden benefit” seem to ignore the earlier “Trump benefit”.
Is their ignorance intentional?
Here are some reasons people don’t return to work, as The New York Times reported last Saturday. Some in public jobs fear that constant contact with the public could expose them and their families to the virus. Some use the extra money to save time while they search for a better job. I know at least one person who does each of these things, and one of them doesn’t even get federal benefits, thanks to the Maine Department of Labor.
Some do not want the CDC to place responsibility on them for enforcing masks policies for the unvaccinated. Some cannot return to work because they have to stay at home with the children, who have not yet returned to school full time.
And some have decided to retire, like the 64-year-old who retired rather than return to his $ 2.83 an hour job (plus tips) at an Olive Garden near Pittsburgh.
Deciding to go back to work for $ 2.83 an hour is a choice the brass instruments of the CDC, and almost everywhere else, never have to make. They’ve been up for so long that they don’t know what the down looks like.
Maybe once a person reaches a higher station, they should be forced to go back to the mail room for a few weeks every year to remember how the remaining 98% live.
Bob Neal highly recommends “The Premonition”. From the book, he learned that the basic response to COVID was written by a college girl for a science fair project. Neal can be reached at [email protected]
Rich Lowry: Beware of false scientific consensus