Fauci: It’s time to disinvite the unvaccinated from Christmas and New Year’s

I’m shocked.

I would have thought proper pandemic protocol is to find out beforehand whether someone is unvaccinated and then not invite them in the first place.

Maybe call them up on video chat and give them a thumbs down to their face, in the manner of a Roman emperor.

Really, though, what was Fauci supposed to say here? “Sure, roll the dice”?

There’s a new COVID variant spreading with insane speed. People with immunity seem to shake it off but it’s anyone’s guess how it behaves in the non-immune. There’s a second, older variant spreading alongside it that’s meaningfully more likely to send an unvaccinated person to the hospital if they catch it.

Should we invite over unvaccinated Uncle Bill in those circumstances?

I understand Fauci’s advice to be precautionary, not punitive. It’s designed to protect the disinvited person, not the host. If Uncle Bill passes along Omicron to you, a vaccinated person, you’ll be fine. If you pass Omicron on to Uncle Bill, he’ll probably be fine. But why chance it?

Do you really want to rely on the ivermectin he’s been stockpiling at home to see him through?

Maybe you can reach an accommodation. If he agrees to pop a handful of hydroxychloroquine before driving over, he’s still invited.

The truth is that, as with so much of his advice, this suggestion by Fauci is destined to fall on deaf ears. Until Omicron gives them a good reason to the contrary, most Americans are done fretting over the pandemic. Anyone still worried enough about it to consider disinviting an unvaccinated family member from Christmas was probably going to disinvite them anyway, whether Fauci suggested it or not.

How much have people changed their behavior since Omicron emerged? Zippo, that’s how much:

Uncle Bill had a good life. At least he’ll have one last nice Christmas with the family.

The experts are increasingly done with COVID restrictions too. Epidemiologist Bill Hanage has spent most of the pandemic warning people to stay vigilant and take the virus seriously. Lately he’s been forced to reassure the neurotic minority that, yes, socializing with loved ones is also an important health priority.

I almost fell off my chair when Dr. Leana Wen encouraged New Yorkers to go ahead and gather by the hundreds of thousands in Times Square for the big ball drop:

Even Fauci’s been encouraging people to get together with family for Christmas this year, provided of course that you’re vaccinated, masked, in a ventilated environment, have tested negative six times on rapid tests, etc etc.

In all seriousness, I think his chief concern in not wanting the unvaccinated out and about on the holidays is his fear that American hospitals will crash next month or in February. I’m a broken record on this point, I know, but even a “mild” variant like Omicron could create unmanageable patient loads if it infects enough people. If only one in a thousand need to go to the ER because of it and it ends up reaching 100 million people, that’s still 100,000 patients who’ll need care — on top of Delta patients who are experiencing severe illness and on top of all the people who’ll need hospital treatment for reasons unrelated to COVID. The unvaccinated are more likely to develop a severe case than the vaccinated are so Fauci’s doing what he can to try to reduce their contact with other people, expecting that that’ll reduce the hospital load in a few weeks’ time. It won’t work — we’ve seen a million polls by now that the unvaxxed are more willing than the vaxxed to socialize — but that’s his angle here.

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