Sunday, April 16, 2023

Do We Understand Covid Yet?; Biden Ending COVID Emergency Won’t Affect High Court Case Over Student Debt Forgiveness, Say Experts, and other C-Virus related stories

Photo: will oliver/Shutterstock
WSJ: Do We Understand Covid Yet?
Inevitably, politics took charge, making it harder to adapt to a virus that wouldn’t be stopped.
Here is one way Covid is not like the flu. In its first year, the new virus infected an estimated 100 million Americans, five times as many as are infected by the flu in an average year. Our countermeasures don’t seem to have slowed Covid at all but they did slow the flu. A medium-severe flu season came to a screeching halt, with cases dropping dramatically after March 2020 apparently due to social-distancing measures adopted for Covid.
The effect was even clearer in year two. It was also world-wide. Uniquely the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t even bother to estimate an annual “disease burden of the flu” for the 2020-21 season given “minimal influenza activity.” Covid, meanwhile, was so out of control that as many Americans died in year two as in year one despite widespread vaccination. How many were infected (or reinfected) in year two? Nobody knows. One study found that by December 2021 half of Americans claimed to have had Covid. Keep in mind perhaps one-third of cases are asymptomatic.
Bottom line: Covid spreads a lot faster and easier than the flu; our steps aimed at stopping Covid were a lot better at stopping the flu than at stopping Covid. Indeed our actions in 2020 and 2021 all but vanquished the flu while seeming to have little effect on the coronavirus.
The corollary goes unnoticed—even though it seemed obvious from day one—because it conflicted with the story we wanted to tell ourselves. In naughty-schoolboy fashion, John Barry, author of an admired history of the 1918 flu, drew the lesson in a recent Washington Times podcast. Whether it came from a lab or a natural setting, the virus was already out of the bag globally before Beijing knew about (or dissembled about) its existence. Our own early testing fumbles were also irrelevant: A fast-spreading, mostly mild or asymptomatic virus—indistinguishable from the cold or flu to most sufferers—was not going be stopped from infecting the U.S. population. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Biden ending COVID emergency won’t affect high court case over student debt forgiveness, say experts:
President Biden’s decision to end the COVID-19 emergency order this week won’t sway his pending Supreme Court case over forgiving millions of student loan borrowers who he claimed needed financial help due to the pandemic, legal experts say.
The president on Monday signed a resolution ending the emergency orders, which were put into place by former President Donald Trump on Jan. 31, 2020.
The emergency declaration gave the government sweeping authority to issue restrictions due to the public health emergency. Many of those moves have been winding down and were set to expire next month.
“The end of the COVID emergency order is earlier than expected, but it was still supposed to end before the completion of this Supreme Court term. Due to this predictability I don’t think the end of the emergency order will have much of an impact, but I’d be quite surprised if the loan forgiveness program survives,” said Adam Feldman, Supreme Court scholar and creator of the Empirical SCOTUS blog. “The loan forgiveness program was already on shaky ground.”
The high court heard arguments over Mr. Biden’s student debt plans Feb. 28, and a decision is expected by the end of June.
The federal government had cited the COVID emergency for the president’s authority to forgive the $400 billion in debt. Twenty-six million Americans have applied for relief, and 16 million have been approved. The relief is on hold while the high court deliberates. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Americans hold mixed views on getting back to ‘normal’ after Covid-19, new polling shows

COVID-19 vaccine mandates to be dropped for both SUNY and CUNY students by end of May

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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