A leading journalist has called on Americans to get a grip and learn to live with COVID-19, rather than attempting to win an ‘illusory’ victory over the virus.
Speaking to Anderson Cooper on CNN Monday night, Andrew Sullivan said it was time to lift lockdown measures, encourage people to take vaccines, and stop letting federal and state governments continue to impose lockdown rules on Americans’ lives.
Explaining his philosophy on the virus, Sullivan said: ‘Government isn’t there to hold your hand every day. The government has a responsibility to give you the means to protect you and your family from this. Once they’ve done that, as I free country. You get to live.’
Sullivan lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which saw one of the biggest outbreaks of COVID among fully-vaccinated people last month.
Earlier this month, he wrote on his blog The Dish that seeing how mild the symptoms were among his vaccinated friends convinced him that it was time to shrug off the fear of the virus.
Sullivan told Cooper: ‘The goal is not to pursue an illusory victory over the virus, but to learn how to live with it, and actually live fully alongside it,’ he said.
While the Delta variant remains on the rise, Sullivan argues that COVID has become ‘less of a plague and more of a disease you live with’.
During a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, author Andrew Sullivan argued that it’s time for Americans to stop being in denial and accept the role COVID-19 plays in our lives
‘In a free society, once everyone has access to a vaccine that overwhelmingly prevents serious sickness and death, there’s no reason to enforce lockdowns again or mask mandates or social distancing any longer. In fact, there’s every reason not to,’ he said.
Sullivan, who was born in the UK and has enjoyed an illustrious career as a journalist in the US added: ‘There are costs to not living. There are costs to having a year of your life taken away from learning and developing as a child. There are costs of not being with your family. There are costs of not being with your fellow workers,’ he explained.
‘We are a social animal. We cannot live isolated like this. We’ve never done this before. You can’t wrap yourself up in cotton wool for the rest of your life and you mustn’t let children not live.’
He argues that while communities around the nation are experiencing case surges, citizens need to resume normal life.
Grilled by Cooper about the risks to children because under 12s cannot yet have COVID vaccines, Sullivan said that under fives were in more danger each time they went for a swim.
He claimed that while communities around the nation are experiencing COVID case surges, citizens need to resume normal life
The writer, who is strongly pro-vaccine, explained: ‘If you’re 18 times more likely to drown if you’re aged one to five than to die of COVID.
‘I think putting it in some sort of perspective for children, which is it’s not that serious a disease at all. It’s like a bad cold.
‘The immunocompromised are going to be unfortunately vulnerable for a long time. This now, we now know, is a virus that transmits from vaccinated people. So we’re going to have to live with this thing. We’re going to have to be vaccinated consistently against it.;
Sullivan also compared the coronavirus pandemic to his own health battles after he was diagnosed as HIV positive during the 1990s.
He said: ‘I’ve lived for 28 years with HIV. It is in my bone marrow. I’ve learned not to defeat it. I can’t declare victory but I can get on with my life and make sure I don’t die from it or get sick with it,’ he said.
He also argued: ‘The most potent incentive for vaccination is to be brutally frank, a sharp rise in mortality rates. The more people know someone who has suffered and died, the more they are likely to take measures…In other words, call their bluff…Let it rip.’
The writer’s most recent gig – a column at New York magazine – came to a close after the magazine’s left wing staff took exception to his libertarian views.
Sullivan, whose fans include former President Barack Obama, has now returned to writing his successful subscription blog that saw him lauded as an internet pioneer in the 2000s.
His comments came as the Delta variant has reignited the mask mandate debate in the United States.
Sullivan’s comments came as COVID cases continue to surge and the Delta variant has reignited the mask mandate debate in the United States
Some governors have outright expressed opposition to all measures to make masks mandatory despite advice from health authorities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told vaccinated Americans in May that their risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 was low enough that they no longer needed to wear masks.
However, those recommendations did not account for the highly contagious Delta variant or the fact that only about half of all Americans have now been fully vaccinated, and children under 12 aren’t eligible yet.
By the end of July, an about-face: mask-wearing was once again recommended in indoor spaces, even for vaccinated people, in areas with high rates of COVID spread. That currently covers about 90 percent of the country.
The health authority is basing their recommendation on data that shows that vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus more easily than those infected with earlier variants.
But vaccinated people are at much lower risk of serious illness or death if they do catch COVID, with some statistics showing that close to 99.7% of people hospitalized with the virus were unvaccinated.
About 715,000 vaccine doses are being administered every day, the highest rate since July 7
Meanwhile, as the U.S. faces a case surge driven by the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, vaccine demand is rising.
On August 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 618,000 new doses were administered in the past day.
That’s 36 percent higher than the previous Tuesday, when 453,000 new doses were administered.
The U.S. is now averaging 715,000 doses a day, which is the the highest rate seen since July 7.
Americans getting their first shots make up the majority of that 715,000. The daily average for first doses is 503,000 – the highest number in over two months.
More than 195 million Americans have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, representing just over half of the population.