While the threat of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine igniting a world-ending nuclear inferno has pushed the epidemic to the back of most news organizations’ agendas, federal bureaucrats are anxious to demonstrate that they can manage two crises simultaneously.
Following the nuclear explosion in Japan on Saturday, Brad Polumbo of Based Politics reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) ready.gov website for nuclear explosions had been updated to encourage people to conceal social distance if they were hunkered down in a bunker with members of their households.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website advises people to seek cover inside the nearest building, ideally made of brick or concrete, and as far away from windows as possible if they hear a warning of an impending nuclear strike.
After reaching a safe location, keep at least six feet between yourself and individuals who are not members of your family, according to the organization’s website.
Gov. advises that people should remain inside for at least 24 hours after the bombs have gone off, during which time they should maintain a social distance and wear a mask if they are sheltering with others who are not members of their household.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has some helpful suggestions for escaping a nuclear holocaust. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency is urged to dial 911 for assistance.
If the operator is still alive, you must inform them if you suspect you have COVID-19 and take precautions to protect yourself before aid arrives.
It has been suggested that after a nuclear war, the surviving may develop feelings of envy for the deceased.
Luckily, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gives helpful counsel for anyone experiencing psychic anguish due to witnessing the globe burn.
They are aware that survivors may have had a lot on their plates before the bombs detonated, sympathetic to this.
“If you’re feeling down, talk to someone about it. Many people are likely to be experiencing worry and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus 2019. (COVID-19). The possibility of a nuclear explosion can increase the stress of everyday life “ready.gov makes the following observation:
It encourages people to participate virtually with their community through video and phone chats, which they may do from their own homes. For example, there is no advice on whether it’s acceptable to meet outside in a socially distant manner after all telephones have been disabled.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) environmentally conscious counsel is receiving a great deal of criticism from conservative corners of the internet and with good reason.
For much of the epidemic, the public health bureaucracy has struggled to strike a reasonable balance between eradicating COVID and addressing other important public health and human well-being challenges, particularly in the developing world.
Aside from that, they’ve frequently displayed a rather weak knowledge of how people will respond to their advice in an emergency.
This obtuseness about human nature is taken to the extreme by the federal government’s chastisement of social distance in fallout bunkers.
This is analogous to enforcing capacity restrictions at a fiddle concert while the city of Rome is burning.
The fact that this advice comes from FEMA adds to the irony of the situation. During disasters, one of the agency’s primary roles is to coordinate communications and response operations among numerous government entities.
However, when it comes to counseling people on what to do in a nuclear explosion, the organization has fallen short of coordinating with other agencies.
In effect as of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer advise persons who live in the 70 percent of the country that has been classified as a low or medium risk for COVID-19 to remove themselves from others socially or to wear masks inside their homes. That piece of advice would appear to apply to fallout shelters as well.
So, as long as you don’t live in a high-risk county, you should be able to go around unmasked as you and members of another family negotiate how many shotgun shells they’d be ready to trade for a few cans of radioactive tuna they’d be willing to accept.
The CDC States Most Americans Can Take Their Masks Off
As a special treat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed most Americans to remove their masks for a short period.
Earlier this week, the public health ministry issued a new COVID Community Levels tool, which assesses the severity of a pandemic by assessing COVID’s strain on the hospital system rather than by the number of cases reported.
This shift in measurement implies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now classifies around 70% of counties as having a low or medium hazard of COVID. According to the CDC, people in those areas are no longer advised to wear masks indoors.
However, these new standards do not alter the requirement that individuals wear masks on well-ventilated airplanes or in buses and subways that are nearly empty.
In addition, the CDC recommends that anyone, especially schoolchildren in K-12 schools, use masks indoors in the 30 percent of counties where the risk of COVID-19 is deemed to be extremely high.
The suggestion for in-school masking, on the other hand, has been lifted for schoolchildren in low- and medium-risk regions.
That represents a shift from the comments made by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky only a few days ago. According to Reason’s Robby Soave’s research, during a closed-door congressional session, the director stated that she had no plans to amend the agency’s recommendation that all schoolchildren continue to wear masks.
During a conference call with reporters today, Walensky was cautious about emphasizing that people in low- and medium-risk jurisdictions were still free to choose whether or not to wear a mask.
According to the Associated Press, she stated that “anyone is quite allowed to wear a mask at any time if they feel more secure doing so.”
That will surely provide reassurance to individuals who were unsure if they would decide without the CDC’s explicit consent.
However, the agency’s new instructions will amount to little more than a formalization of what they’ve already been doing for most people.
Approximately 65 percent of the country has now received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is considered sufficient to be “vaccinated and relaxed.” Furthermore, those who have not been vaccinated were not likely to be the most ardent supporters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking recommendations.
Local government officials and school superintendents will benefit from the new rules in that they will have the authorization and bravery to pursue their planned repeal of mandated masking, as well as a much-needed push to remove those mandates that are currently in effect.
CDC’s Rochelle Walensky Privately Verifies She Won’t Relax School Mask Advice
According to an audio recording of a closed-door House Energy and Commerce Committee briefing obtained by reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has no intentions to amend their recommendation that all U.S. schools compel pupils to wear face masks.
According to the audio clip, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is heard saying, “The CDC gives guidelines.” “At this time, we recommend that masking is implemented in all schools immediately.”
The briefed the participants, which took place nearly on Tuesday and was attended by Walensky, White House COVID-19 senior advisor Anthony Fauci, and Assistant Secretary for Preparation and Response within the Department of Health and Human Services Dawn O’Connell, was hosted by the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Walensky has come under fire from members of both political parties, who claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s counsel is confused and out of touch with human behavior at this stage of the pandemic.
In response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R–Wash.), the committee’s ranking Republican member, pressed Walensky on the science underneath school mask mandates, noting that The Atlantic had thoroughly debunked the Arizona study that the Centers frequently cited for Disease Control and Prevention in support of masking children.
“What we’re seeing in the United States is an outlier when it comes to the mask mandate for our children to attend school,” McMorris Rodgers explained. “[The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund] have both advised against using masks for children under the age of five since it will cause more harm than benefit.
Children between the ages of 6 and 11 believe that we should consider other variables such as learning and social development. My one question for today, Dr. Walensky, is whether or not you will commit to changing your recommendations by Friday to allow youngsters to enter without the encumbrance of masks. Thank you for your time.”
Walensky did not make any commitments regarding a timeline for abolishing school mask mandates. She acknowledged the “limitations” of the Arizona study and other studies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have relied on to influence their guidance. Nonetheless, she ruled out any modifications to masking in schools in the immediate future.
“It’s crucial to acknowledge that they all have limitations since we aren’t randomizing schools,” she explained. “When it comes to windows, ventilation, and other activities taking on outside of these schools, we must exercise caution. As a result, there are certain limitations to all of this research.
When it comes to diseases, however, they are almost unanimous in their assertion that face masks are effective in stopping the spread of those diseases, which allows us to keep our schools open during outbreaks of disease.”
In addition, Rep. Gary Palmer (R–Alabama) asked Walensky to justify the agency’s school masking recommendations. “Explain why we need to continue to allow school districts to enforce a mask mandate on children,” he said of the panel.
When confronted with this, Walensky supported the agency’s present guidance and pointed out that local authorities were free to ignore it, presumably with some annoyance.
As she continued, “I’ll also note that guidelines are simply guidelines and that any of these decisions must be taken at the local level, as we’ve started again.” Our guidance has been delegated to the local jurisdictions as cases have decreased considerably.
Given that many coronavirus-averse counties are reportedly waiting for the CDC’s approval to modify masking requirements—particularly in schools—this response drew some criticism. “That is not acceptable,” Palmer stated emphatically.
It wasn’t just the Republicans who were perplexed; Rep. Anna Eshoo (D–Calif.) voiced tremendous disbelief that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was unable to be more specific about what degrees of caution were still needed.
“You hear the phrase ‘confusion’ again and over,” Eshoo explained. “Masking, on the other hand, is something else you should know about.
You may be wondering where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, a peninsula in the center of Silicon Valley. Schools, cities, municipalities, and counties: you’re saying one thing, but they’re doing something quite different. In addition, this is a highly educated community.
I have faith in our public health officials in this country. Consequently, my first question to you, Dr. Walensky, and my second point to you are why we must be on two distinct tracks simultaneously. Isn’t there some public health consensus on this issue somewhere?”
After providing national statistics—170,000 cases per day, 2,200 deaths per day, and so on—Walensky was stopped off by Eshoo before he could complete his statement.
“When you use national data, it’s not a picture of where we are, so can you take that into consideration when you’re giving me an answer?” “Can you take that into consideration when you’re giving me an answer?” Eshoo expressed himself.
“Without a doubt,” Walensky stated. “We are aware that all of these choices must be taken at the level of the relevant jurisdiction.
That means that in addition to reporting the national data, we must also claim them at the jurisdictional level because we understand that we expect that they glance at their local context, to seem at their local cases, to scan at how their hospitals are accomplishing, to look at their local death rates when we request their assistance.
And that is exactly what I believe is taking place across the country in a staged manner. A slew of different policies is being implemented. Some claim that they are removing their masks.
Some people have stated that they will be removing their masks after the month. Some claim that we will be removing masks at the end of the month, but this has not yet been confirmed for schools.
As a result, this is taking place at the level of the jurisdiction. The masks should be kept on, for the time being, considering the situation in which we find ourselves at this point in the investigation.”
To this, Eshoo expressed suspicion, claiming that people were consulting the CDC website to see whether regulations were warranted based on the numbers from their local authorities.
According to Eshoo, “I believe that is perplexing, and I believe that it undermines the confidence of the CDC.” “In this case, credibility is important. Who is it that you are going to pay close attention to?
So, I mean, it comes down to that, and I find it concerning. You know, they’re making it sound like all of these local groups, public health directors, and so on aren’t paying attention to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s how it appears to me at the moment. Is everything all right? That’s how it appears to be.
That’s exactly how it sounds. As a result, I’m stumped. What should I tell the people who make up my constituency? Please take a peek at their website, for example. I don’t believe that is a satisfactory response.”
In addition, the three government health advisors answered questions from Democratic and Republican committee members on a variety of other topics, including the permission of fourth booster doses, the availability of treatments, and the potential that COVID-19 evolved from a laboratory setting.
Using the same enthusiasm they display in public, Republicans interrogated Fauci about a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant that sponsored coronavirus research in Wuhan, and the results were discouraging.
In response to a question from Rep. John Joyce (R–Pa.), Walensky spoke about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s failure to acknowledge immunity developed from a previous illness as legitimately protective.
As a result of recent studies, he believes that so-called natural immunity should be considered sufficient to satisfy the federal vaccine requirement for healthcare employees.
In the delta surge, case rates for people who had a previous illness but had not received vaccination were significantly lower, four- to fivefold lower, than case rates for those who had only had the vaccination, according to the CDC.
“The cost of hospitalization followed a similar pattern. Will the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) commit to changing the guidance to highlight the importance of natural immunity in light of these findings?
And will you advocate for a change in the [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] vaccine mandate for health workers, who, as you noted, are currently being adversely affected by COVID-19, so that natural immunity will be recognized as sufficient to meet the requirement, thereby alleviating the strain on health care staffing across the United States?”
Walensky made no indication that she would favor such a shift. “Thank you for your question, as well as for acknowledging our efforts and attempting to comprehend the significance of infection and immunity,” she responded.
“It was published in [Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report], and we also published a scientific proof late last year that demonstrated a review of dozens of articles on the importance of infection-induced immunity as well as the impact of infection-induced immunity.
Two of the report’s most significant shortcomings were discovered during the delta surge. We now know that omicron, which requires a greater level of immunity, was not captured in any of these data sets because they were gathered during the delta spike period.
Second, they did not consider the period during which boosters were available. People were not necessarily up to date on their vaccinations, and the effectiveness of the vaccines had likely been diminishing.”
She did not directly discuss school disguising in her public statements at the White House the next day, broadcast live on the internet. She did, however, indicate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned to give more flexible recommendations on masking in general.
Yet she has made no indication that any changes to the guidance would apply to children in schools, and even when speaking behind closed doors, she has repeated the agency’s position that all schools should be required to wear masks.