The Stanford marshmallow experiment is why America has struggled so badly with the novel coronavirus. Offer little kids a marshmallow right now or two of than if they wait 15 minutes. You can rightly guess that lots of children go for the one immediate marshmallow.
Last April and May after the March shutdown, way too many states opened up everything too quickly. As Dr. Anthony Fauci said recently, “I believe that if you look back historically, we’ve done worse than any other country, and we’re a highly developed, rich country.”
But right now, things are better. Really! After leading the world in novel coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths in 2020, the United States is vaccinating people better in 2021 than most other nations. (Hmm, I wonder what changed on Jan. 20) More than 107 million doses have gone into arms, and more than 33 million Americans are fully vaccinated.
And yet, Republican-led states like Texas and Florida are opening all the way, without even the basic common sense of a mask mandate, when really all they have to do is wait out these mediocre spring weather months while another 150 million to 200 million Americans get vaccinated and then we can have an awesome summer. Like the little kid who opts for one marshmallow now over two later, they’d rather have infectious fun right now, even if it means ruining summer.
However, this is not a pat on the back for progressives. Too many of my fellow leftists have given in to what the political blog Lawyers, Guns, & Money calls Eeyorism, side-eying anyone and everyone gathering together outside in a park, even scolding fully vaccinated people who start traveling.
But the vaccines are good! They’re a medical miracle. While they don’t entirely prevent infection, they do largely stop hospitalization and death.
Conservatives were wrong. The coronavirus isn’t “the flu”; it’s much worse. That’s why we shut down.
However, with the vaccine, the coronavirus actually may be no worse than the flu! Vaccines really are a get-out-of-COVID-free card.
Of course, it’s reasonable for the vaccinated to still wear masks in stores until the pandemic is over; you can’t ask a cashier to know who is or isn’t safe. But if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would just tell us that vaccination is the ticket to normal life, they’d get a lot more of the skeptics to do the right thing and get vaccinated.