As so many health experts have put it, it is a race between the pandemic, with all its variants, and the vaccine, with all the arms remaining to be shot.
There has been much talk about shortages of supply and the like, and surely, they are plaguing the world as a whole. But the problem in America I am worried about far more than a shortage of vaccines is a shortage of arms.
Consider the irony: Of the 9,000 things I might name that President Trump did wrong during the pandemic, I think most of us can agree on one he did right: investing in vaccines.
It’s science that is saving lives, but billions of dollars in research and guaranteed pre-orders of hundreds of millions of doses – subsidies to many more companies in the hopes that a few would land a moonshot – worked just as it was supposed to. Operation Warp Speed, it was called.
Instead of taking a victory lap for having been right to invest in vaccines, including trying untried methods, which are already saving countless lives, he is stuck in the right-wing corner his polarizing politics have created – right there with the anti-maskers, who seem to have morphed into the anti-vaxxers.
Why deny science a little when you can deny it a lot?
According to recent polls, some 49 percent of Republican men and 47 percent of Trump supporters would decline a vaccine if offered to them.
It’s not just a poll.
Wherever you look, people eager for vaccines are headed for red states, or red counties in blue states, to find vaccine.
As concerned as public health officials have rightly been about vaccine hesitancy in the Black community, it is almost twice as high among Trumpers.
And no, my liberal friends, not even in jest is this a case of survival of the fittest. Viruses do not skip from one family to the next, from one worker to the next, taking account of political affiliation. Viruses don’t observe town lines or county borders.
I have a friend who can’t be vaccinated. Allergies landed her in the hospital the last two times she was vaccinated for other ailments. She is understandably concerned, and so are her doctors. She has been advised not to get vaccinated. She is depending on everyone else who can safely be vaccinated – including the Trumpers – to do so. That’s what herd immunity is about.
Trump could almost rehabilitate himself – OK, just a little – if he could put his ego behind him for one minute and focus, as part of his Easter message, on the lives that could be saved by masks and vaccines.
But why do that when he can just keep up his tired attacks on lefties?
Whoever thought we would say this of Trump?