Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: “The dumbest thing imaginable” has competition

NY Times:

“President Trump has led the largest mobilization of the public and private sectors since WWII to defeat Covid-19 and save lives,” said Brian Morgenstern, a White House spokesman.

But Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to put aside his political self-centeredness as Americans died by the thousands each day or to embrace the steps necessary to deal with the crisis remain confounding even to some administration officials. “Making masks a culture war issue was the dumbest thing imaginable,” one former senior adviser said.

BREAKING: David Purdue is quarantining after exposure to COVID-19.

— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) December 31, 2020


McConnell calls Jan. 6 certification his “most consequential vote”

Between the lines: Many Republican senators are furious at Hawley for forcing them to take what Trump is setting up as the ultimate loyalty test on January 6th.

  • On the call, McConnell asked Hawley to explain what he planned to do on Jan. 6, said a source on the call.
  • Then, Indiana Sen. Todd Young pressed Hawley on which states he planned to contest, and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey defended the integrity of his state’s elections.
  • There was just one problem: They were met with silence. Hawley hadn’t dialed into the conference call — a fact first reported by Politico’s Alex Isenstadt.

What’s next: Hawley has no plans to back down from his decision to object to the certification of the electoral votes — a ploy destined to fail on Jan. 6.

Visual approximation of US government support and planning for #covid19 vaccines to date pic.twitter.com/p5eWuRzMI4

— Josh Michaud (@joshmich) December 29, 2020


Sen. Sasse calls effort to overturn electoral college vote a ‘dangerous ploy’

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Thursday called the effort in Congress to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory a “dangerous ploy,” underscoring the challenge President Trump faces in persuading even members of his own party to join it.

In an open letter to constituents, Sasse wrote that there is no evidence of fraud so widespread that it could change the results and said he has urged his colleagues to reject “a project to overturn the election.”

“All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party,” Sasse wrote on Facebook shortly before midnight on Wednesday. “We ought to be better than that.”

“They should have done that early. And they should have gotten that money out to the states,” @ashishkjha tells @rachel_roubein. “And then they should have worked with states to set up all of these places, so that by the time the vaccines arrived …” https://t.co/gaFneqypWg

— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) December 31, 2020

Ohio Capital Journal:

60% of Ohio nursing home workers refuse vaccine

As the coronavirus vaccine dribbles out far more slowly than promised, many of the people who can get it are refusing to do so.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday said that a whopping 60% of nursing home workers who have been offered the vaccine have refused it.

Basically the GOP’s strategy has been to wait for a vaccine, and when it has finally come, they’ve blown this part of it too. Governing failure we are witnessing here is hard to put into words it is so immense – we can never ever let the public forget who did this to us.

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) December 31, 2020

NY Times:

Here’s Why Distribution of the Vaccine Is Taking Longer Than Expected

Health officials and hospitals are struggling with a lack of resources. Holiday staffing and saving doses for nursing homes are also contributing to delays.

These sorts of logistical problems in clinics across the country have put the campaign to vaccinate the United States against Covid-19 far behind schedule in its third week, raising fears about how quickly the country will be able to tame the epidemic.

Federal officials said as recently as this month that their goal was to have 20 million people get their first shot by the end of this year. More than 14 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been sent out across the United States, federal officials said on Wednesday. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 2.8 million people have received their first dose, though that number may be somewhat low because of lags in reporting.

By the way, vaccine hesitancy amongst healthcare workers is real and needs to be addressed.If you are in charge but not doing the work to persuade, including working with the unions, you are not doing your job.

Roughly 20% to 40% of the L.A. County’s front-line workers who were offered the vaccine declined to get the shot. So many in Riverside County refused the vaccine — an estimated 50% — that officials met to strategize how best to distribute the unused doses https://t.co/yDtTh6ccq2

— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 31, 2020


Wisconsin health-care worker ‘intentionally’ spoiled more than 500 coronavirus vaccine doses, hospital says

Initiating an internal review on Monday, hospital officials said they were initially “led to believe” the incident was caused by “inadvertent human error.” The vials were removed Friday and most were discarded Saturday, with only a few still safe to administer at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., according to an earlier statement from the health system. Each vial has enough for 10 vaccinations but can sit at room temperature for only 12 hours.

Two days later, the employee acknowledged having “intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,” the system, Aurora Health Care, said in a statement late Wednesday.

That’s more election day voters than they saw in November. They obviously *can* do it, the assumptions we have can easily break, and this race isn’t over by any means. But the GOP have made this a lot harder for themselves than it needed to be.

— Lakshya Jain (@lxeagle17) December 31, 2020

The latest poll (.pdf) says they won’t win. But it’s just a poll.  By the way, FL was 71% early voting, 29% election day. GA is more likely 80-20. 

I asked a GOP strategist in GA what he thought of the new JMC poll (below) showing big leads for Ossoff (+7) and Warnock (+9). He felt the margins were off, but, he said, “I do think the Dems are going to win. I think the deficit in early voting is too big to overcome.” #gapol pic.twitter.com/o9BahNlezr

— Charles Bethea (@charlesbethea) December 31, 2020

NY Times:

How Does the Coronavirus Variant Spread? Here’s What Scientists Know

Contagiousness is the hallmark of the mutated virus surfacing in the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries.

A variant that spreads more easily also means that people will need to religiously adhere to precautions like social distancing, mask-wearing, hand hygiene and improved ventilation — unwelcome news to many Americans already chafing against restrictions.

“The bottom line is that anything we do to reduce transmission will reduce transmission of any variants, including this one,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist affiliated with Georgetown University. But “it may mean that the more targeted measures that are not like a full lockdown won’t be as effective.”

What does it mean for this variant to be more transmissible? What makes this variant more contagious than previous iterations of the virus? And why should we worry about a variant that spreads more easily but does not seem to make anyone sicker?

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