The delta Straussians also don’t want to debate safety claims very much. They fear that studying the data more closely will worry and paralyze us more, without much limiting the overall number of infections. In their view, vaccines have made things about as safe as they are going to get, and the contagiousness of delta will create lots of infections, albeit mostly relatively safe ones.
That’s what the proprietor of one of my favorite local restaurants believes. He is aware of the delta strain, and knows it is worse, though without being up on the numbers or the details. Earlier in the summer, he lifted the mask mandate for his restaurant, and he isn’t interested in restoring it. He is not a “Covid denialist,” but he figures normal business has to continue at some point and that point is now. Someone may well catch Covid in his restaurant, but those people might well have caught Covid anyway.
Our school reopenings face a similar paralysis-inducing dilemma. If we test every child every day, it will seem as if we have far too many cases of Covid, and the schools will shut again quickly. Nonetheless, given that delta is highly contagious, many of those children will catch Covid whether or not they go to school…
I do not rue the growth of delta Straussianism among my fellow citizens. If you can’t do anything about delta, if your institution needs to reopen sooner or later, if the booster shots in large numbers are not right around the corner, and yet another new variant might be coming along anyway, maybe you really do just need to get on with things. Restaurant reservations are robust, and the gym industry is surging back. I do not wish to reverse those trends, and it is hard to believe those customers are only the Covid denialists.
Here is the full Bloomberg column, which also offers a take on the British test and trace system.