Moving towards a playbook for new covid variants

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the FDA giving full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the White House. Photo by Adam Schultz/White House Official.

A new Greek letter is on the mind this week: Omicron. New cases of the variant have been popping up all over the world, prompting travel restrictions and renewed calls for eligible adults to get their COVID booster shots. 

We’ve been through this at least a couple of times already with the Beta and Delta variants – so how should the Biden administration react to this latest variant? What’s in his power to change? Can he effectively work with a slow-moving FDA and CDC and return to the back-to-normal politics that made him popular at the beginning of the year? And is it really that big of a deal that we might have to get booster shots to be considered fully vaccinated? We discuss.

Next: the pandemic has a huge political cost, which Democrats are desperately trying to avoid in the midterms next year. How can they get to some semblance of normal without alienating people who prefer to be more cautious? Does the answer lie in extending pandemic safety measures or is it in quickly approving antiviral pills, which have lots of potential to reduce hospitalizations? And why does this pandemic feel like a really bad episode of House?

Emily Bazelon joins the panel this week to talk about oral argument at the Supreme Court on Mississippi’s ban on abortion after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. After this week, it looks like the court is likely to overturn Roe. What did we learn at oral argument and what’s the future of abortion law in the US?

And finally: why Fauci really should be talking to Fox News, the discovery of diseases needs to be separate from moral judgment, and why “affordable fourplexes” just mean zero housing.

Credits

Guest:

  • Emily Bazelon - staff writer for the New York Times magazine, co-host of Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast, and a fellow at Yale Law School - @EmilyBazelon

Producer:

Sara Fay