After three and a half years, there’s still no immunity from COVID hysteria at the New York Times or PBS NewsHour. A slight, predictable summer uptick in COVID cases (up from very low levels) caused a mini-frenzy in the liberal media, which were always eager to enjoin citizens to “mask up” and get their umpteenth booster shot while shunning other people. Both outlets relied on epidemiologist and dedicated mask-pusher Katelyn Jetelina.
Jetelina appeared on the taxpayer-supported NewsHour Thursday evening to comment on what host Geoff Bennett called the “COVID-19 summer surge….John Yang looks at the growing concerns.”
Yang: Katelyn Jetelina is an epidemiologist at the University of Texas. She writes the popular Substack column “Your Local Epidemiologist”. So, Katelyn, what — when you hear those numbers, what do they tell you? What are those — what does this little spike tell you?
Jetelina: Well, it tells me, well, here we are yet again. We find ourselves in the middle of this COVID-19 summer wave. And you know, I don’t think this should be very surprising, because we have seen a summer wave the past three years, particularly in the South….
Of course, Jetelina’s advice also included masks, masks, masks, prodded by Yang, who ran down the tedious list of pandemic precautions:
Yang: I want to ask you, quickly because there’s so many — so much concern among people out there about specific advice and tips you might have, I’m just going to name a topic and a quick answer. Masks.
Jetelina: Yes, you should wear, be wearing masks in crowded areas, especially during a surge.
Yang: But what about at home and when you’re walking on the street?
Jetelina posed as being a moderate voice even while she recommended healthy people quarantine, in mid-2023:
Jetelina: So, certainly, at home, it works, if you want to reduce household transmission. I wouldn’t wear a mask when walking your dog. Just be distant of other people.
The New York Times’ notorious COVID reporter Apoorva Mandavilli made her own pandemic plea in Friday’s edition. It was less hysterical than her usual output, but still leaned into overzealous precautions: “Amid Signs of a Covid Uptick, Researchers Brace for the ‘New Normal.’”
Jetelina made her appearance warning that “Covid is still a thing” that we should never be allowed to move beyond.
Still, for older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic conditions, the virus may yet pose a serious threat. “We are in a very different place, but Covid is still a thing,” said Katelyn Jetelina, a public health expert and author of the widely read newsletter, “Your Local Epidemiologist.”
“I think we do the public a disservice by saying that it’s over and let’s move on, because it is going to be disruptive this winter, and it will cause a number of people to die,” she added. “That’s just not acceptable to the public health world, especially since it’s preventable.”
Guess which intervention the mask-obsessed (they’re even better than booster shots!) Mandavilli recommended?
No researchers foresee a return to the worst days of the pandemic. But some recommend that when the number of cases go up, people consider wearing masks again in crowded indoor spaces, testing when they have symptoms and being mindful of those around them who may be at high risk should they become infected.