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What matters: The biggest vaccine-related headache still awaits us

CNN’s Dana Bash pointed it out to Dr Anthony Fauci on “State of the Union” this weekend. She mentioned New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina, but there are a ton of stories like this:

Google around. These stories are happening across the country in states that have been pretty much locked down.

Efforts to open transverse lines. Schools that had resisted blended learning are slowly moving to offer children an in-person option.

California schools dare to leave money on the table. California children, especially younger ones, could be in school this month after state governor Gavin Newsom struck a deal with fellow Democratic lawmakers to set aside $ 6.6 billion for Californian schools. The catch is that the money will go to schools that open. They don’t have to open up. But if there’s one thing every school district needs, it’s money.

Why Aren’t All American Children in School? Many are. Many are not. The American school system is extremely localized.

CNN’s Katie Lobosco writes that the CDC’s new guidelines were more specific, but didn’t really help matters. They suggest six feet of separation for the students. This is simply not possible in many crowded schools.

“In a way, being more clear can create specifics that may not fit everyone’s parameters and justify shutdowns,” Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, told Lobosco. in San Francisco.

3 feet versus 6 feet. At the top of this story is a collection of videos from an Ohio high school that has resumed sessions five days a week since the fall. They focused on a distance of three feet which is more achievable.

Bash asked Fauci if this was another premature setback. He didn’t say what I wanted to hear:

If you look at the curve, Dana, it’s dropping sharply, but in the last few days it’s kind of leveled off at around 70,000 new infections per day.

Let’s look at what history has taught us. If you go back and look at the various surges, every time we peak and start to drop, understandably, totally understandably, you say, well, let’s step back.

We’re going to back down eventually, but you want the baseline infection level per day to be really low, because if you look at this little plateau, especially in the variant realm like we have in California and the like. like we did in New York it’s really risky to say it’s over, we’re going out, let’s go back, cause what we can see is we’re coming.

It’s not hypothetical, Dana, because you only have to look historically at the end of winter, the beginning of spring 2020, in the summer of 2020. When we started to retreat prematurely, we saw the rebound. We certainly don’t want that to happen.

Watch the whole exchange here.
Related: CDC director says progress on Covid could be dashed by variants

At some point, the problem with vaccines will not be access, but adoption. Right now, it is difficult for many Americans to find a date, assuming they even qualify under local rules. But this is a temporary problem. Eventually, every willing person will get the hang of it, and we’ll have to deal with people who don’t want it.

Read this New York Times report on young members of the service, who have the choice to get vaccinated against Covid. About a third say no, thank you.

“The military tells me what, how and when to do almost everything,” Sgt. Tracey Carroll, who is based in Fort Sill, told The Times. “They finally asked me to do something and I actually have a choice, so I said no.”

I was quite surprised that the army, which regularly shoots soldiers at soldiers, gives them an option here.

Access will lead to acceptance. California Democratic Representative Karen Bass, appearing on CNN on Sunday, said it was important to focus on access now. When people hear about friends and neighbors getting vaccinated, it will increase acceptance, she said – especially among black Americans.
Some people will never get on board. A recent Kaiser poll showed growing acceptance of the vaccine, but still found 15% of Americans who said they would never get vaccinated and 7% who would only get the vaccine when needed for school or work.

In this Kaiser survey, black Americans and Latin Americans were more likely to be on the “wait and see” camp. Republicans and people living in rural areas were more likely to say that they will not get the vaccine or that they will only get it if they are forced.

The share of “wait and see” has declined in the Kaiser polls. The share of “certainly not” has remained about the same.

There is also a lot of politics going on. The dominant message from this weekend’s CPAC convention – a kind of testing ground for conservative ideas – is that Republicans will try to become the party opposed to restrictions on their political gain. (More on CPAC in a moment.)

Minimum wage and systematic obstruction

It was a political gift for President Joe Biden. The Senate parliamentarian stripped the Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief bill of the $ 15 minimum wage.

Why? Democrats, who need full party unity, did not have the votes to pass the measure through the Senate with minimum wage.

But it is also a political nightmare. They campaigned to raise the minimum wage and they will have to find another way to do it.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren agrees with House progressives that Deputy Speaker Kamala Harris should use her rarely-invoked power to quash the parliamentarian and top up the salary.

“I agree,” Warren told CNN if she supported the pressure from House members to have Harris overturn the decision.

Related: There is a race to get past the stimulus by March 14. Here are the issues
The next drama this week. A GOP effort to amend the Senate stimulus bill. Democrats will find it difficult to stay united to protect the fundamentals.

Warren’s biggest mission is to end the filibuster. It is the custom that 60 votes are required for most large bills.

“The only reason we’re in this mess is because of the filibuster,” Warren told CNN. “If we wanted to get rid of the filibuster, we wouldn’t have to keep trying to force the camel through the eye of a needle. Instead, we would do what the majority of Americans want us to do. We do.”

Usual suspects: Manchin and Sinema. It would take a majority to end the filibuster, and the same senators who did not want to raise the minimum wage – Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – are against it.

There will be a lot of talk about filibuster over the next couple of years. Democrats in the House could pass voting rights and police reform proposals this week.

The White House announced Biden’s support for both proposals.

Neither appears to have 60 votes in the Senate, but both could likely find 50.

Tax the rich! Warren’s new proposal for a wealth tax for ultra-millionaires would almost certainly require breaking the obstructionism to pass. And even then it might hurt.

It would levy a 2% annual tax on household and trust equity between $ 50 million and $ 1 billion as well as an annual surtax of 1% on assets over $ 1 billion, for a global tax 3% on billionaires.

Exile has not changed Trump

CNN’s Stephen Collinson watched the emergence of former President Donald Trump from his own self-imposed Mar a Lago exile this weekend so the rest of us wouldn’t have to. . (Check out Collinson’s “Meanwhile in America” ​​newsletter, which he writes with Caitlin Hu).

Trump is determined to take revenge. This is the main conclusion I drew from his analysis of Trump’s speech at the CPAC convention, where Trump called on Republicans who supported his impeachment by name and pushed the lie he won in November.

Here is a taste:

Last seen leaving Washington in disgrace, the ex-president wandering through old political battles underscored his obsession with revenge at a time when the attention of the majority of the nation not on his side was falling. focuses on more immediate concerns.

We haven’t heard the latest from Trump. Writes Collinson:

His latest comments suggest that the fight to save America’s democratic institutions and free elections did not end when he left the White House, but will be a key struggle in the run-up to the next presidential election.

As local and state Republicans seek to restrict access to the ballot box, Trump, who has tried to force Georgian officials to steal the election for him, called on the GOP to ban postal and early voting to ensure “fair elections” and racial elections. reasoned innuendo about irregularities in Detroit and Philadelphia. He demanded citizen tests for access to ballots, said voting should only take place on election day and called for banning independent judges from ruling on electoral disputes.

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