A Surge in Virus Double Standards

June 23, 2020

The riots weren't how most Americans would have preferred to get their break from coronavirus news coverage. But for once, after months of force-fed fearmongering, the outbreak found itself in an unusual place: the backburner. Suddenly, concerns about social distancing were non-existent. Liberal leaders, who were doing everything they could to keep Americans locked down, were standing behind podiums, urging people to get out and protest. Now, after a couple of weeks of mob demonstrations, the Left wants to blame someone else for the surge of infections: Donald Trump.

At a House hearing today with experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Democrats insisted that these new cases have nothing to do with the hypocrisy we've witnessed in several cities. Instead, members like Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) think the latest hospitalizations all stem from the irresponsibility of one man -- the president. "It was an outrage that there was a gathering in Tulsa," Eshoo argued. "Six of the president's advance people were infected. And it's my understanding that two Secret Service agents were. How can the CDC allow this pandemic, this virus, to be something political?"

Of course, the irony of Eshoo's question is that she was one of the House Democrats who made the issue political when she wrote to the administration defending the right of protestors to gather free from government interference.

She, like so many others, is one of those liberals who NRO's Jim Geraghty believes "set their credibility on fire for coming down like a ton of bricks on anti-lockdown protesters," then turned around and "bless[ed] and in some cases participat[ed] in George Floyd protests. No doubt, we've got a supply of hypocrisy that could fill up the underground tanks of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

Maybe people believe that the virus wasn't that bad at the riots, or that it's gone, or that people have built up immunity.

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Catherine O'Neal disagrees. On Monday's "Washington Watch," she was very careful to say, "The virus has not gone at all." "What we're seeing now is that people who are more social, getting out first, not as cautious, are really getting the virus at rapid rates. And we can link those that rapid spread to social events, birthday parties, baby showers, bachelor parties, and bars." The increase, she points out, is mostly in community cases. "And [that's] naturally concerning, because that means that not only has it gotten back into the community, but it's starting to hit those vulnerable people who were protecting themselves -- but [who] can't protect themselves from their family members coming back to the house from their social events."

In particular, she points out, is a spike in the 18- to 29-year-old range. Now, whether that's because we weren't testing that demographic as much in March or not, no one knows. "But they may be what begins the surge." Even the young community is seeing a bump in admissions. "We cannot forget that the at-risk populations are in our homes right now. They're not people who are over 70 people that we've admitted in the last week. They're people in their 40s, 50s, early 60s with diabetes, with obesity, which is very common in the United States... We're admitting our neighbors, whose kids are being very social right now."

If we want to slow this down -- and quickly -- Dr. O'Neal urges: "You really have to start to think about what you do in your personal life... And if we want that economy to grow, we have got to put masks on. We've got to stay away from people. Just be very deliberate in your social activities... [Earlier this year,] we did that very successfully. But I think we've gotten a little bit ahead of ourselves, and we have to back up just a little..."

So the question on everyone's minds is: When can life return to normal? As far as Dr. O'Neal is concerned, a lot of that depends on us. "I consider 2020 the year of social distancing and masking and a new way of life... I think that we all have to stretch a little bit for the rest of this year. I don't see an out soon." We can have social interactions, she agrees, but in smaller groups with people you trust are acting responsibly. Live your life, she says, but be more careful. "I'm not going to miss Sunday dinner with my mom or dad, but we might sit outside for most of that time. You know, we keep our traditions. We just if we're just a little bit more deliberate about those things, we're 50 percent there."