The CDC is telling Americans to “avoid travel” to Germany and Denmark in addition to Austria, the U.K. and other parts of Western Europe. No one is listening. And that’s the CDC’s fault. We haven’t failed the guidance, the guidance has failed us.
Let’s look at a warning to avoid travel to Germany,
- The recommendation applies to everyone, heading anywhere in the country
- That means the guidance is the same whether you’re vaccinated or not, and whether you’re boosted or not
- It’s the same for those under 50 and those over 80
- And it’s a warning that is the same for all of Germany, when the greatest spread is in the undervaxed former East Germany (and the easternmost part of the former West Germany)
These recommendations are too blunt to be useful. They also lack credibility because risk levels are different for different people traveling to different places. Transatlantic flights are full – bringing people both directions – while public health officials whistle in the wind.
The Director of the National Institutes of Health slowed down vaccine trials for political correctness, demanding Moderna balance out its clinical trials using racial classifications that had no scientific basis for influencing efficacy. The delay in Moderna vaccine availability cost lives. Indeed since Covid-19 was spreading fastest in minority populations at the time, it was precisely those lives most at risk from the delay.
One of the most useful voices during the pandemic has been Eric Topol, but he managed to pressure delay of Pfizer data until after the Presidential election and thus approval of the vaccine, also costing lives.
Today doctors can legally prescribe Ivermectin which doesn’t work but can’t yet prescribe Paxlovid which has been shown to reduce hospitalization when taken within 3 days of symptom onset by 89% in a phase 3 clinical trial.
The FDA prevented testing early in the pandemic, only permitting use of a CDC test that didn’t work. While situationally better than a year ago by far, the U.S. still lacks ubiquitous cheap self tests that would allow people to identify when they’re infectious – every day, before interacting with others.
We’ve even done social distancing exactly backwards in the U.S. And when it comes to boosters – convincing people who have gotten two shots to get a third probably has far greater public health bang for the buck than convincing those who have refused a vaccine entirely to get their first one – public health until the past few days has said it’s more important to vaccinate the world (when we are letting an eight figure number of doses expire in the U.S.) and to focus on the unvaccinated than to allow boosters… and so we find ourselves days from Thanksgiving gatherings without a coherent booster message like the one Israel has used to great effect.
So when we hear advice from experts, most Americans seem to ignore it. Somehow the remarkable innovation of vaccines has become political with too many people declining to get one as somehow a way of sticking it to elites and their ‘betters’ who seem to get everything wrong. That’s sad. And telling vaccinated and boosted people under 50 not to go to Europe is wasting credibility.