When could we be back to normal? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

January 27, 2021

Understand more. Argue less.

Good morning. With new strains of COVID-19, Biden's new plan, and that one friend who somehow manged to get the vaccine, there’s a lot to keep up with. Let’s break it down.

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The Vaccination Situation

Kevin Lenthe

It has been 320 days since March 13, 2020, the day considered to be the start of the pandemic in the U.S. Since then, two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized by the FDA in record time, with a third vaccine likely to be cleared in the next couple of weeks. 

Of those approved vaccines, 44.3M doses have been distributed, but only 23.5M have been administered. As the approved vaccines require two doses several weeks apart, states are preserving vaccines to ensure they have enough for a timely second dose. Poorly communicated delivery timelines and understaffed vaccination centers only serve to complicate things further. To top it all off, a new threat has arisen: extra contagious COVID-19 variants have found their way to the U.S. from Europe, South Africa, and Brazil. (CDC)

Here’s what else you need to know.

The Facts

  • Herd Immunity. While exact number isn't clear, most experts estimate that 75-80% (if not more) of the population would need to be vaccinated and/or recover from the virus to seriously slow the pandemic. (Mayo Clinic

  • Premature celebration? The U.S. is recording just under 3,100 deaths a day on average, 250 less than two weeks ago. While this decrease is welcome, some health officials are concerned that it may lead to prematurely loosening restrictions which could allow new virus variants to spread rapidly. (AP)

  • Sixth dose squeeze. Having recently discovered that a vial can provide six doses instead of five, Pfizer will be able to ship more doses than previously estimated, reducing the pressure on thinly stretched supply chains. (Bloomberg)

  • Small business bet. West Virginia is the only state thus far to reject the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens and is instead utilizing mom-and-pop pharmacies for vaccine distribution. Currently, the state is second in the country in vaccine administration rates. (AP)


How It's Being Spun

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives from both sides, along with supporting headlines and article snippets. These are not necessarily factual, but instead illustrate the news coverage that solidifies the narrative from each side. The bias ratings refer to news outlets as a whole, not a specific article.

Narrative from the Right

The Dems love to over-promise and under-deliver. Biden continues to blame his own failings on the Trump administration, claiming that they left him an ineffective vaccination plan, which simply isn’t true. To make it worse, Biden has yet to thank Trump for Operation Warp Speed, the real reason his administration has any chance of success.

Supporting Headlines

US COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit ‘Natural Plateau,’ Not Vaccine Driven

OWS Officials Push Back On Biden Administration Narrative, Say Distribution Plan ‘Extraordinarily Detailed’

Biden Says 'Nothing We Can Do' To Change Pandemic 'Trajectory' In Coming Months

Narrative from the Left

We finally have an administration that respects science and has a solid plan to combat the pandemic. Now that Fauci doesn’t have to worry about people injecting bleach to “vaccinate” themselves, we can get this under control in an orderly fashion. It may get worse before it gets better, but eventually, it’ll get a hell of a lot better. 

Supporting Headlines

How Operation Warp Speed Created Vaccination Chaos

Biden Inheriting Nonexistent Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Plan And Must Start 'from Scratch,' Sources Say

Biden Pledges to Speed Flow of Vaccines To The States That Need Them

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news gets it right. Here are two cases where traditionally biased news outlets reported with relative objectivity, conceding a point to the other side's narrative.

Biden's Administration Is Vowing To Reopen Schools Quickly. It Won’t Be Easy

The New York Times deviates from the predominate Left narrative that says Biden's plan is foolproof, or at least almost so. (NYT)

Vaccine Stockpile Trump Administration Promised To Release Doesn’t Actually Exist

The Daily Caller deviates from the predominate Right narrative that says Trump's action set Biden up for as much success as possible. (Daily Caller)


What Does It All Mean?

Depending on where you get your news, the vaccination situation may sound something like this...

  • If your news outlets lean Right, you may be frustrated with the mainstream media’s hypocrisy in praising Biden’s plans after criticizing Trump so harshly. As a result, public opinion has made Trump the scapegoat, when in reality, the top four states leading in vaccine distribution are all Republican. You’re also feeling good about the fact that an increasing number of states are moving toward reopening, even if it’s long overdue.
  • If your news outlets lean Left, you likely feel a sense of relief and newfound optimism following Inauguration Day. You’re hopeful that everything will go according to plan, and that we can finally turn the corner on an economic crisis, increase vaccination rates, and restore some sense of normalcy to our nation.

Yesterday, Biden announced the purchase of an extra 200M doses and ramped up distribution plans. The President claims that those actions will increase supplies to states by 16% next week and enable the administration of 1.5 million doses daily. He also announced that states will now receive a three week notice for how many doses they’ll receive (as opposed to one), which should combat the slew of vaccination cancellations that's impacted thousands of Americans. However, a December Pew poll found that only 60% of Americans would actually get the vaccine, while another 21% would probably get it as more information becomes available. If Biden’s plans come to fruition and enough Americans are willing to get the vaccine, we should hit or approach herd immunity by fall 2021.

Biden has also enacted executive orders in an effort to maximize the number of vaccines administered. These include (but aren’t limited to) diverting resources to long-term care facilities, restricting travel, and authorizing the National Guard to assist states in vaccine distribution. 

While we’re certainly on the right track, public health experts say that even after getting the vaccine, you may still be contagious and should follow safety protocols. The end is slowly starting to come into focus.


What Else We're Following

  • Yesterday, a federal judge blocked the Biden Administration’s proposed 100-day deportation ban, saying they failed “to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.” (NBC News)

  • On Monday, Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against former President Trump’s personal lawyer. Dominion's is suing for defamation after Rudy Guiliani repeatedly complained about the reliability of voting machines in the 2020 election. (USA Today)

  • Yesterday afternoon, 45 Republicans voted to not move forward with the impeachment trial at all. The Senate hearing will begin on Feb. 9th, but getting 17 Republicans to vote to impeach seems as unlikely as ever. (AP)

  • Want to track how many vaccines have been administered? Check out this CDC tracker

Finally, some good news

Alzheimer’s affects over 6 million Americans and currently has no real cure. However, a new treatment just passed phase 2 human trials and is showing some significant promise. The treatment’s primary antibody was used on 272 patients with mid-stage Alzheimer’s, and it reduced clinical decline by 32% over 18 months. While you shouldn’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine development timeline, this is an uber-encouraging step towards solving this debilitating disease. (Some Good News)

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Regardless, have a great week. We'll see you next Wednesday!

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