By Lambert Strether of Corrente
The nice thing about stooges is that there are three of them: Jeffrey Zients (Coordinator of the COVID-19 response in the Biden administration), Rochelle Walensky (CDC Director), and Anthony Fauci (Chief Medical Advisor to the President). Together, they held a virtual press conference on December 17, 2021. Here is the transcript.
Frankly, I nearly lost it when I saw the quotes floating around the Twitter; so I determined to pull on my yellow waders once more. I should really cover the entire transcript, but I just… can’t. So I’ve picked out some salient passages and annotated them. As usual, paragraphs are numbered in bold, thus: (0). Notes are in square bracketes: .
Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible. If you are vaccinated, you could test positive. But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild.
 Not necessarily. See “Breakthrough Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Despite Booster Dose of mRNA Vaccine,” linked today.
 We have plenty of data on breakthrough infections on the vaxed and the double-vaxed. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren were infected and triple-vaxed.
 Um, the word you’re looking for is “infected.”
 On mild, the jury is still out.
(1) We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this.
 This has always been the priority. Even Andy Slavitt knows it didn’t have to be this way: “We can virtually eliminate the virus any time we decide to. We can be back to a reasonably normal existence: schools, travel, job growth, safer nursing homes and other settings. And we could do it in a matter of weeks. If we want to.” Do a hard lockdown, and pay people to stay home. Of course, we never did and never will.
 Blame cannons deployed…
 Biden has consistently failed to praise those who did “the right thing” with Non-Pharmaceutical interventions, including social distancing and masking, let alone the construction of Corsi boxes.
 Clearly the “we” doesn’t apply to all Americans. Lebensunwertes Leben is no way to run a public health care system.
This is the sentence that almost made me stroke out. And a lot of other people, too.
 Blame cannons, fire!
 “The unvaccinated,” otherized as “you”, including people with chronic illnesses, the immune-compromised, children under 5, the pregnant and/or lactating, plus infants, the homeless or evicted, and prisoners, to name a few. That’s a lot of innocent bystanders to fire the blame cannons at. The Lancet:
Public health implicates government obligations to realize the health of populations, focusing on “what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions for people to be healthy” []. Securing public health does not merely reflect the health of many individual persons, rather a collective “public” good that is greater than the sum of its parts…. The current US approach continues to undermine the fundamental notion that all people are equal in dignity and rights. When the CDC Director speaks of a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” [], this implicitly assumes that those who become ill are responsible for their own suffering and that their deaths are acceptable—because they could have been vaccinated. These moral deficiencies reflect a larger neglect of collective responsibility, equity, and human rights in US public health policy. CDC guidance must consider the moral foundations of public health, providing a normative framework to support public health policy and practice.
Not to mention the ghoulish public relations efforts of these three stooges.
 “The unvaccinated,” otherized as “yourself” being disproportionately Black and Hispanic people. From Bloomberg:
A year since the first Pfizer and Moderna doses were administered in the U.S., large racial vaccination gaps remain.
A handful of places, some with large Black populations, such as New York City and Washington, D.C., are close to parity among races and ethnicities. Several states in New England, which have generally high vaccination rates, are also leaders in vaccine equity.
But in nearly half of U.S. states, Black and Hispanic vaccination rates lag White ones by 10 percentage points or more. Many of those are in the South and Southwest, respectively.
Here is a handy chart, which practically screams “structural issues:”
(I outlined the directions at top center in red.) “You” is also disproportionately lower income (i.e., more likely to be working class. From Kaiser Health Foundation:
“Notably, parents with household incomes under $50,000 are more likely than those with higher incomes to say they are very or somewhat concerned about issues related to vaccine access.”
Here is a handy chart, which screams the same scream:
Leaving the moral issue noted in  aside, politically Zeints has lost his mind: He fired the blame cannons at the Democrat base.
 Nobody ever asks why hospitals have optimized away their surge capacity, or why the supply chain isn’t delivering the necessary.
(3) So, our message to every American is clear: There is action you can take to protect yourself and your family. Wear a mask in public indoor settings. Get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get a booster shot when you’re eligible.
 It’s all up to the individual. This, again, is the antithesis of public health
 The individual cannot “take action” to improve ventilation in their workplace, their children’s school, or buildings generally. That requires collection action, which is no doubt why Zeints omits it.
 The quality of the mask isn’t specified. This is important, since N95s are more protective than surgical masks (as the public health establishment well knows, which is why they want them, and why Fauci told his “noble lie” to prevent the public from demanding them).
(4) We are prepared to confront this new challenge. We have plenty of vaccines and booster shots available at convenient locations and for no cost. There is clear guidance on masking to help slow the spread. And we have emergency medical teams to respond to surges as necessary.
 Who’s “we”?
 Studies consistently show vaccine accessibilty varies by location and especially by class, just like all other forms of health care delivered by our for-profit system. (And vaccines still are not available at the workplace, the obvious way to get them to as many people as possible.)
 Many of “the unvaccinated” don’t believe this; having had experience with our health care system — perhaps with surprise billing — they assume “free” is a scam.
(5) So, this is not a moment to panic because we know how to protect people and we have the tools to do it. But we need the American people to do their part to protect themselves, their children, and their communities.
 Who’s panicking? The West Wing?
 See my comment (1).
(6) The more people get vaccinated, the less severe this Omicron outbreak will be. One hundred sixty thousand unvaccinated people have already needlessly lost their lives just since June, and this number will continue to go up until the unvaccinated take action.
 Fire! It seems that the administration believes that the only possible strategy is exhortation and blaming. Obviously, this hasn’t worked, and so naturally they double down on it. In reality, there has been anti-vax sentiment for every vaccine going back to Edward Jenner. (Cotton Mather’s house was bombed in 1721 because he was pro-vax.) Anti-vax sentiment should have been expected and planned for by the “adults in the room” who were elected to solve the problem.
(7) We have vaccines, we have boosters, and we know multi-layer prevention strategies — masks in public indoor settings, practicing physical distancing, frequent handwashing, improving ventilation, and testing to slow transmission — are vitally important, especially as we prepare for more Omicron and even if you are vaccinated and boosted.
 I’m not sure how long a layered strategy has been Walensky’s messaging, but no matter, it hasn’t gotten through, cetainly not to Biden (see his “winter plan” of 14 days ago at paragraph (15)), and not to the general public, either. In any case, it was never Biden’s plan, or Klain’s, or Zeints’, or Faucis, because otherwise non-pharmaceutical interventions would have been stressed throughout the Biden administration. They were not.
 Walensky shows the incoherence of making recommendations without a theory of transmission. Since for whatever reason — gatekeeping hospital infection control goons? — Walensky cannot utter the word “aerosol,” we get this gallimaufry of real remedies and hygiene theatre. Since Covid is not transmitted by fomites, handwashing is irrelevant. Since Covid is airborne, Walensky might have mentioned monitoring for “shared air” with CO2 meters, and building Corsi boxes. But of course not.
(8) Today, we’re releasing CDC science on “test to stay” that allows unvaccinated children to stay in school even if they have been exposed to the virus so that they don’t have to miss school while they’re quarantining at home.
 Sounds great. Leaving aside the Biden administrations’s idiotic pay-now-get-reimbursed-later-maybe plan of working through the insurance companies, If only we had the tests!
 Wait. Zeints thinks or at least says that “the unvaccinated” are to blame for tens of thousands of “needless” deaths. So why are we allowing them in the schools?
(9) And, finally, as we head into the holiday season, when many will be gathering with their loved ones, I want to again encourage everyone to utilize the proven prevention strategies that keep everyone safe: get vaccinated and get boosted, mask in public indoor settings, physical distancing, handwashing, improve ventilation, and testing to slow transmission.
 Walensky repeats the incantation at (7), except that handwashing need no longer be “frequent.” That’s a mercy.
(10) So the bottom line of what we’ve been telling you all along: It is critical to get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimal protection to get boosted.
 If vaccination is the bottom line, then Fauci contradicts Walensky’s advocacy of the layered strategy at (7) and (9).
Zeints (11): “The right way to think about the percent boosted is those eligible, and we’ve now boosted about 60 million Americans. That’s about 40 percent — 4-0 percent — of the eligible Americans.”
 Apparently, Zeints doesn’t read Bloomberg:
The U.S. government has over-counted the number of Americans who are at least partly vaccinated against the coronavirus, state officials warn, meaning millions more people are unprotected as the pandemic’s winter surge gathers stea…. On the bright side, the miscount means more Americans have received booster shots than shown in official federal data.
Zeints has no basis for giving a figure at all (and you know the qualifying “about” will be lost in the ocverage). Further, Zeints has aimed the blame cannons at plenty of innocents, who have in fact gotten vaxed but not been counted on CDC’s abacuses, or tally sticks, or whatever it is that they use.
Zeints (12): Let me start with the fact that the U.S. has strict protocols in place to help protect the American people and stop the spread of the disease, as it relates to international travel. Foreign nationals — all foreign nationals coming into the U.S. from a part of the world where the travel is not restricted due to Omicron must be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative test.”
 No, it very doesn’t. A “strict protocol” would be a fourteen-day quarantine.
 Which totally explains how the virus got here. On the wings of little elves, no doubt.
 Totally sensible, since as we all know, the virus checks your passport before infecting you.
In the headline, I wrote that Walensky came to slay, but that’s not fair: Zeints and Fauci came to slay, too. It gets harder and harder to make excuses for the Biden administration. I don’t generally quote the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page, but the numbers are pretty stark:
President Biden may not recall what he said during a 2020 campaign debate last fall, but Americans should: “Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” At the time the U.S. had recorded 220,000 Covid deaths.
Covid deaths this year have now surpassed the toll in 2020 with 350,000 since Inauguration Day. It would seem that Mr. Biden has done no better than Donald Trump in defeating Covid despite the benefit of vaccines, better therapies, and more clinical experience.
Walker Bragman has the right of it:
"We're going to let you die" is essentially what they're saying and it's fucking monstrous.
The federal government has a responsibility to protect all of its citizens. And frankly, by not doing anything except relying on vaccinations, it isn't protecting anyone.
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) December 18, 2021
A catastrophic failure of governance by embubbled Democrats:
This is not an acceptable public health response from the Biden White House to the new Omicron variant.
This is an abdication of responsibility. Many children are unvaccinated. Many people are immunocompromised and unprotected.
Completely shameful. pic.twitter.com/WXkoqwxBRC
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) December 18, 2021