The speech started with a lie and didn’t get better.
“Good evening,” Uncle Joe told us. Evening? It was 5 p.m. in Washington and 2 p.m. in Los Angeles. Near bedtime for our president, I suppose.
In the 27 minutes that followed, Biden managed to choke out one fact: over 1,000 fully vaccinated Americans were hospitalized with Covid every day this summer -which likely means the current number is considerably higher.
How do I know? The White House spinmasters, aided by the New York Times, are now resorting to calculating Covid infection and hospitalization risk for vaccinated people on a per-day basis.
This statistic is so nonsensical as to be almost comic. Practically any risk will seem tiny over a single 24-hour period. To take just one example: a 90-year-old woman has a 1 in 8 chance of dying before she turns 91. But her risk of death per day is only about 1 in 3,000 (not far from the 1 in 5,000 per day risk the Times has calculated for a vaccinated person to get Covid).
So when Biden said the risks of being hospitalized with Covid if you’re fully vaccinated are 1 in 160,000 per day, what he meant was that upwards of 1,000 vaccinated people are now being hospitalized every day. At least.
Because the vaccines work!
That aside, the speech was what we’ve come to know as classic Biden - loud and empty, in the style of Brezhnev or a late Roman emperor whose name no one knows. If he’d really been serious about forcing unvaccinated people to take the shot, he would have announced a vaccine requirement for air and other interstate travel and entry to federal buildings. Remember, he’s required you to wear a mask to fly - he could at least try to force a vaccine.
But whether because of airline lobbying or because he fears the Supreme Court is done with Covid nonsense - as it pretty clearly showed in striking down the ridiculous eviction ban last month - he didn’t. Instead he once again leaned on companies to do what he cannot. But only companies with more than 100 employees.
To quote my two-year-old - Because why? The ro don’t care about small companies, I guess.
But the plan does have one truly disastrous element: the vaccine mandate for health care workers. The current hospital crisis has little (or nothing) to do with Covid hospitalizations, vaxxed or unvaxxed, and everything to do with the fact that a large fraction of nurses and other medical staff would rather quit than be vaccinated. A fact all by itself should cause you to question both the seriousness of Covid for healthy adults and the usefulness of the vaccines.
So, yeah, last evening’s speech was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing (unless you plan to visit a hospital in the next few months, good luck with that).
At least he didn’t mention Beau, though. That was a win.