Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Biden’s rolling along, getting things done

NY Times:

As Biden Confronts Vaccine Hesitancy, Republicans Are a Particular Challenge

The administration is seeking help in urging Republicans to get inoculated. But the president said he was not sure how much value there was in enlisting his predecessor.

While there are degrees of opposition to vaccination for the coronavirus among a number of groups, including African-Americans and antivaccine activists, polling suggests that opinions in this case are breaking substantially along partisan lines.

A third of Republicans said in a CBS News poll that they would not be vaccinated — compared with 10 percent of Democrats — and another 20 percent of Republicans said they were unsure. Other polls have found similar trends.


Dan Diamond/WaPo:

‘We want to be educated, not indoctrinated,’ say Trump voters wary of covid shots

The responses of focus group participants suggest they can be persuaded — but perhaps not by politicians, including the former president

“These people represent 30 million Americans. And without these people, you’re not getting herd immunity,” said Frank Luntz, the longtime GOP pollster who convened Saturday’s focus group over Zoom. The group followed what Luntz characterized as a remarkable arc: By the end of the two-hour-plus session, all 19 participants (one dropped out early) said they were more likely to get vaccinated, and Luntz said he had begun nationwide polling to see which messages resonated with a broader population.


Lev Facher/STATNews:

The White House is set to unveil a wide-reaching, billion-dollar campaign aimed at convincing every American to get vaccinated

This television, radio, and digital advertising blitz, set to kick off within weeks, will focus on Americans outright skeptical of vaccines’ safety or effectiveness as well as those who are potentially more willing to seek a Covid-19 immunization but don’t yet know where, when, or how. Specifically, the campaign will target three groups in which access, apathy, or outright skepticism may pose a barrier to vaccinations: young people, people of color, and conservatives, according to a Biden aide. Congress and the administration have set aside over $1.5 billion for the effort.

The effort highlights a looming and underappreciated public health challenge: Though millions of Americans are currently clamoring to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, in a few short months, or even weeks, the opposite may be true. Instead of scrambling to manufacture doses, the government may soon be scrambling to find arms willing to receive them.


Audrey Clare Farley/TNR:

The Post-Trump Crack-Up of the Evangelical Community

Its embrace of an ignominious president is forcing a long-overdue reckoning with the movement’s embrace of white supremacy and illiberal politics.

Last week, [Beth] Moore finally broke ties with the Convention, along with her longtime publisher, Lifeway, telling Religion News Service, “I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists.… I don’t identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past.” Her announcement set Twitter and the Christian blogosphere ablaze. Some have accused her of going the way of “Satanic cannibals” and demanded her repentance. Others have flatteringly compared her to Meghan Markle. But the more urgent debate surrounds the nature and history of the institution Moore has rejected, and the fault line that her stance has cracked open.


Dave Lawler/Axios:

What’s going on with the AstraZeneca vaccine

Use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was halted across much of Europe today, including in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Why it matters: The suspensions followed reports that a small number of patients who received the vaccine experienced blood clots. But public health agencies, including the World Health Organization and the EU’s own medical arm, say there’s no indication that the blood clots were caused by the vaccine, or that the risks of giving the shot outweigh those of delaying it.

  • AstraZeneca says that out of the 17 million people who have received the vaccine in the EU and U.K., the number experiencing such symptoms is actually lower than would be expected in the general population.
  • Still, safety boards from the WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will convene on Tuesday to discuss the situation.


David Wallace-Wells/New York:

How the West Lost COVID

 How did so many rich countries get it so wrong? How did others get it so right?

At the beginning of March, South Korea was averaging more than 550 new daily confirmed cases, compared with just 53 in the U.K. At the end of the month, South Korea had 125; the U.K. was at 4,500 and climbing. “In the UK we have had nine weeks to listen, learn and prepare,” Sridhar wrote angrily in the Guardian, berating the British regime for failing to establish basic systems for supplies, testing, and contact tracing. “Countries such as Senegal were doing this in January,” she wrote. “We had a choice early on in the UK’s trajectory to go down the South Korean path,” but instead the country was at risk of sleepwalking from small failures into giant ones. “We must race to make up for the time lost during two months of passivity,” Sridhar concluded. Of course, the country didn’t, and now its death toll measures in the six figures. Sound familiar?


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