Daily Archives: October 18, 2021

Is This the Week of the Great Policy Shift? Eh, Probably Not

They must be burning the midnight oil these days at the Fifth Floor Excuse Factory, because the news on Covid-19 continues to be stubbornly bad. Any shred of belief that we’ve turned a corner was dashed with the last few days’ case counts — including an all-time one-day record of 342 new cases on Saturday. The seven-day rolling average remains dauntingly high, as do test positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Can’t wait to see how they’ll explain all this at the Tuesday Covid briefing.

It’s approaching undeniable that Gov. Phil Scott’s plan of vaccination first, last and always is just not working. We’ve blown through prediction after prediction of Delta’s decline, and it’s still going strong.

One might expect the governor to change course, or at least tack a little against this gale-force wind, but I don’t think he’s quite convinced yet. Scott has stuck to his guns even as his justifications and explications have gotten thinner and thinner. I mean, last week he openly admitted that he didn’t know what was going on with Covid.

At the very least, he ought to come to the briefing with an air of humility and tell the people that his administration is rethinking the entire issue in light of the numbers, and is putting everything on the table. That would actually be a good way to prepare Vermonters for stronger measures if needed.

Now let’s try to answer the musical question, why hasn’t his policy worked? Vermont does have a high vaccination rate, after all. Are our current numbers a blip on the radar, or can we expect the high case counts to continue? Well, a couple things argue for the latter: Vaccination alone is insufficient, and the vaccine’s effectiveness seems to ebb over time.

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