It was a good but bizarre day when the CDC finally reversed itself fundamentally on its messaging for two-and-a-half years. The source is the MMWR report of August 11, 2022. The title alone shows just how deeply the about-face was buried: Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems — United States, August 2022.
The authors: “the CDC Emergency Response Team” consisting of “Greta M. Massetti, PhD; Brendan R. Jackson, MD; John T. Brooks, MD; Cria G. Perrine, PhD; Erica Reott, MPH; Aron J. Hall, DVM; Debra Lubar, PhD;; Ian T. Williams, PhD; Matthew D. Ritchey, DPT; Pragna Patel, MD; Leandris C. Liburd, PhD; Barbara E. Mahon, MD.”
It would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall in the brainstorming sessions that led to this little treatise. The wording was chosen very carefully, not to say anything false outright, much less admit any errors of the past, but to imply that it was only possible to say these things now.
“As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to circulate globally, high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools have substantially reduced the risk for medically significant COVID-19 illness (severe acute illness and post–COVID-19 conditions) and associated hospitalization and death. These circumstances now allow public health efforts to minimize the individual and societal health impacts of COVID-19 by focusing on sustainable measures to further reduce medically significant illness as well as to minimize strain on the health care system, while reducing barriers to social, educational, and economic activity.“
The Ukraine war is becoming the EU’s death knell as its leadership, accepting jointly with Europe’s main governing parties the US instructions on confronting Russia, has bet the house on a Russian military defeat in Ukraine and a political-economic collapse leading to regime change in the Kremlin. The EU leaders have dangerously and increasingly tied the fate of the European integration project to their belief (based on gross miscalculation or misled by Anglo-American intelligence) in an Ukraine victory and a Russian loss.
As this is unlikely to happen, and as a major crisis unfolds this coming winter due to growing population discontent with raising energy costs, food disruption and general economic malaise, serious political changes will affect the EU and Europe’s political leadership. At best, the EU will severely lose momentum towards further political integration and will become entangled in paralysis and institutional marasmus. At worst, growing dissatisfaction will prompt radical political changes and bring to power politicians with alternative views on the usefulness and relevance of the EU.
The US-led economic war against Russia as response to the Ukraine military operation has exposed and worsened the deep structural faults of the European Union (EU) architecture. In fairness these cracks manifested before, for instance during the Greek crisis starting in 2009, the Brexit process since 2016 and the growing disputes of Poland and Hungary with the EU administration. At the root of the EU’s problems is a governance structure run by non-elected officials which over decades has not only expanded but also developed its own survival logic at the expense of the bread-and-butter issues that do matter to the average European.
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