Since the outset of the pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, unlike other politicians, has seen COVID-19’s obvious effects, and been willing to let science guide him. Accordingly, as some of his constituents began receiving the coronavirus vaccine this week, DeSantis insisted that old folks – front-end Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation – be placed at the front of the line.
But within the federal government, the people who oversee the vaccine relied on race-based politics to set the priority for coronavirus immunization – that is, until they realized it would be politically unpalatable.
The Washington Free Beacon recently probed how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed its “ethical framework” for distributing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
Based on the input of outside consultants steeped in identity politics, training materials rooted in the philosophy that America is inherently racist and sexist, and the race-conscious thinking of its own members, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices decided to prioritize “essential workers before the elderly, partly on the grounds that the elderly skew white,” the Free Beacon reported.
“The committee openly acknowledged that its initial plan would result in more deaths than ‘vaccinating older adults first.’ But, the panel said, the plan would reduce racial disparities – something they deemed more important than saving lives – because essential workers, unlike adults over 65, are disproportionately black and Hispanic, the two groups that have borne the brunt of the pandemic.”
This thinking directly conflicts with the CDC’s own follow-the-science data.
On its website, the agency notes that older Americans are “at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if diagnosed with COVID-19.”
How much greater?
Depending on their age, Americans 65 or older are between five times and 13 times more likely to require hospitalization than people 18 to 29.
Meanwhile, the death discrepancy between those groups is far greater, and simply staggering. The CDC notes that 80 percent of all COVID fatalities were people 65 or older, even though that age group was only 16 percent of all cases, and that folks in that age bracket are 90 times to 630 times at greater risk of death than the 18-29 demographic.
Still, as the Free Beacon reported, racial politics ruled the day – until it didn’t.
The agency developed an “explicitly race-conscious plan that would have prioritized shrinking the case gap between races over saving the most lives,” the Free Beacon related.
“This plan contained glaring double standards, such as an assumption that age-based policies would be discriminatory but that race-based ones wouldn’t be,” and sought to develop a “bureaucratic consensus upon shaky foundations that were anything but apolitical or science-based.”
The committee analyzed three other plans – crafted by the World Health Organization, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine – for guidance. All three, according to the Free Beacon, “tended to prioritize saving lives over reducing disparities.”
Still, the CDC panel based its plan on “five proposed principles – maximize benefits and minimize harms, equity, justice, fairness, and transparency.”
The committee “also expressed concern that vaccinating by age would amount to immoral – and potentially illegal – discrimination,” the Free Beacon reported.
In fact, in drafting their plan, the advisers took an Orwellian view of concerns expressed by the American Geriatric Society and the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
The Free Beacon observed that both agencies suggested that healthcare providers might actually cite age to discriminate in favor of the young at the expense of the elderly.
Yet the CDC committee saw the opposite.
Instead, it read those remarks as recommendations to do the opposite. Thus, the panel “took two statements that championed the interests of the elderly and used them to justify a plan that would disproportionately kill senior citizens – implying that age-conscious alternatives were discriminatory, even as the race-conscious plan passed with unanimous support at a subsequent meeting.”
In reality, the committee’s approach, despite whatever merits one might find in it, would have killed many elderly black, Hispanic and Asian Americans – along with white people.
Fortunately, once the plan it became known, it was scuttled “in the face of outrage from across the political spectrum,” the Free Beacon reported.
Righteous outrage, in fact.
Accordingly, all of us should be troubled that we came so close to so many needless deaths because bureaucrats – who by the way implore us to heed “science” and control the tool that not only will save lives but will speed our nation back to normalcy – nearly executed a plan that shelved science in favor of reverse discrimination.