New York Times editorial: Too many Americans still 'paralyzed' by coronavirus fears

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In media news today, NBC’s Chuck Todd says some factors for Biden’s low polling are ‘not his fault,’ Janice Dean speaks out amid reports Team Cuomo secretly plotted to discredit her, and Chris Wallace announces his departure from Fox News.

The New York Times editorial board wrote Saturday that it didn’t believe the coronavirus pandemic would be going away in the near future, and that Americans “paralyzed” with fear needed to learn to live with the reality of the virus in their lives. 

In a Saturday editorial, the board declared it was “past time” for Americans to ask themselves if they had to keep living under the thumb of the pandemic, implored them to let the progress the country has made to sink in, and suggested actions that could be taken to allow life to return to normal. 

“Nearly two years into the pandemic, it is clear that the coronavirus is not going to disappear anytime soon,” the board wrote. “Too many Americans are still paralyzed with doubt and fear over each new uncertainty, as trust in government and other institutions to manage the virus ranges from shaky to nonexistent.”

“It is past time to ask ourselves, as another Covid winter begins, if we have to keep living like this: Anxious over the unknown, worried about large indoor gatherings, tense at every bit of virus news and frustrated and at times contemptuous of fellow Americans who have a dramatically different sense of acceptable risk,” it added. 

A worker from USA Health prepares to vaccinate a person for COVID-19 during a drive-up clinic in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
(AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

The left-leaning board cited progress being made across multiple fronts as reason for life to begin returning to normal: More Americans being vaccinated, the ongoing development of better drugs to treat the virus, as well as schools and businesses remaining open. 

It implored Americans to pause and let the progress “sink in.”

“It’s too soon to say how long the current surge will last, or how it might be shaped by the Omicron variant. But even amid that uncertainty, we should push for a more pragmatic path from our decision makers that will help us protect ourselves and live more normal lives, even as the virus continues to evolve,” the board wrote. 

It listed a number of suggestive actions that it claimed would allow Americans to begin living a more normal life, including making coronavirus testing as easy and inexpensive as possible, improving school coronavirus policies by changing isolation requirements in conjunction with more testing, improving communication amongst countries as they detect new variants, and doing away with “Covid theater” (deep cleaning, plastic barriers at schools and businesses). 

West Lawn, PA – October 22: Students in Robin Timpson’s honors chemistry class where the desks in the classroom are doubled to provide extra spacing. At Wilson High School in West Lawn, PA Thursday afternoon October 22, 2020 where the school has been taking precautions for students doing in person school to prevent the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The board did, however, argue that school mask mandates should continue in certain cases, and that the Biden administration should “stay the course” on vaccine mandates. 

“Even as we remain vigilant against the coronavirus, we need not remain in a state of paralyzing hypervigilance. Returning to the sound basics of public health, continuing the progress of medical innovation and ratcheting back the societal anxiety around the pandemic could make us all a lot healthier,” it wrote. 

The editorial ran in stark contrast to previous editorials published by the liberal paper over the past year and a half, including one from August 2021 that argued more reactive temporary restrictions to fight the pandemic were the answer to preventing even more restrictive measures in the future. 

FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) union members, municipal workers and others, against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in New York City, New York, U.S., October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
(REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo)

Unlike Saturday’s editorial, the one in August argued that vaccination requirements for everyday life activities, such as eating at restaurants, going to the movies, and using a gym, were the answer to fighting the pandemic. 

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