New York Times coronavirus reporter Apoorva Mandavilli offered yet another dubious piece of virus-related advice, suggesting in Thursday’s edition that wearing masks and avoiding company for the foreseeable future is somehow preferable to receiving a “booster shot” of a coronavirus vaccine: “Vaccines’ protection against virus infection is waning, C.D.C. studies suggest.”
Mandavilli found sources to suggest just wearing masks for the foreseeable future and avoiding indoor dining and fellow human beings was somehow a more desirable option!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released three studies on Wednesday that federal officials said provided evidence that booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines would be needed by all Americans in the coming months.
But some experts said the new research did not support the decision to recommend booster shots for all Americans.
Mandavilli seemed determined to seek out angles to undermine the “booster shot” plan.
Some scientists were deeply skeptical of the new plan.
“These data support giving additional doses of vaccine to highly immunocompromised persons and nursing home residents, not to the general public,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center and a former adviser on the pandemic to the administration.
She denigrated the validity of taking a third dose:
It’s unclear whether a third dose would help people who did not produce a robust response to the first two doses, said Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The recommendation for boosters may also end up undermining confidence in vaccines, he warned: “A third shot will add to skepticism among people yet to receive one dose that the vaccines help them.”
People will have different opinions on the wisdom of getting booster shots. But how many people who have already had a vaccine shot would prefer to mask up permanently and avoid socializing just to avoid getting another shot? It certainly doesn’t bespeak much confidence in the vaccines from the Times. (Mandavilli’s reporting tends toward pessimism, even alarmism, so no surprise.)
Instead she would have even fully vaccinated people continue to behave as if they’re not vaccinated, by wearing masks and avoiding crowded indoor spaces — i.e., normal life — for the foreseeable future. Don’t the vaccines work?
[Boston University epidemiologist Dr. Ellie] Murray said boosters would undoubtedly boost immunity in an individual, but the benefit may be minimal — and obtained just as easily by wearing a mask, or avoiding indoor dining and crowded bars.
The administration’s emphasis on vaccines has undermined the importance of building other precautions into people’s lives in ways that are comfortable and sustainable, and on building capacity for testing, she and other experts said.
“This is part of why I think the administration’s focus on vaccines is so damaging to morale,” she added. “We probably won’t be going back to normal anytime soon.”
Robby Soave at Reason magazine put it this way: “The New York Times: Instead of Vaccine Booster Shots, Why Not Just Wear Masks Forever?”
Note the agenda here: The “experts” — i.e., overly cautious epidemiologists picked by The New York Times to give weight to Team Blue’s quixotic COVID-19 mitigation preferences — think the focus on vaccines is damaging because it comes at the expense of a pro-lockdown, pro-masking, pro-social-distancing strategy. Vaccination, broadly speaking, lets most people live their lives like normal again; this is somehow viewed as a bad thing.
Former Times stats guru Nate Silver tweeted:
Of all the critiques of boosters, this seems like the worst/weirdest one. Boosters would help us get back to normal — see family and friends more, pursue a wider range of social activities — but for some reason we don’t want that?