Building my Scout Mindset: #1

post by Miranda_Zhang ( · 2021-07-16T18:55:03.032Z · EA · GW · 6 comments


  Upon First Glance
    Biden is putting politics ahead of stopping the COVID spread
      Some brief thoughts on my reflections:

What is this post about? [EA · GW]

Disclaimer: this is my first attempt at 'Building my Scout Mindset,' so it's not polished, the format isn't finalized, and I need to do some actual 'analysis.'

Upon First Glance

This section excerpts my stream-of-consciousness upon first reading the article.

Headline: Biden is putting politics ahead of stopping the COVID spread

Note: I definitely only clicked on this article because of that 'drama-stirring' headline.


This subsection annotates the article with my immediate thoughts in italic.

Shots in arms, not shutdowns, are the answer. Good, I'm glad we agree! Among the big risks to Americans right now are unvaccinated health-care workers and unvaccinated illegal immigrants fanning out across the country. Ah, so this is about immigration. Great. (Sarcasm, particularly as I am an immigrant) But President Joe Biden is putting politics ahead of tackling these two politically toxic problems. Oh? Also, politically toxic?

Feeling: Defensive

Team Biden is banning foreign travelers from many countries, including the United Kingdom, even if they’re fully vaccinated. Sounds like he's being cautious, which doesn't jive with the headline. Yet the prez is OK with letting hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated foreigners wade across the Rio Grande to enter the United States via the southern border. Ah. Of course.

Feeling: Resigned

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data, more than 80 percent of these migrants are unvaccinated. Oh, that's high! Some come from countries such as Brazil and Peru that have high infection rates and worrisome variants. That does sound worrying. But every country is facing worrisome variants, including the U.S., wherein the Delta variant has become dominant. The vaccination rates in Honduras and Guatemala, the countries of origin for most border crossers, are less than 1 percent. Okay. That sounds bad. But it's not their fault - it really sucks that their countries probably don't have the infrastructure, or even the vaccines, to vaccinate everyone. And hang on, didn't I recently read an article about people crossing the border to get vaccinated here?

Feeling: Mildly surprised.

I'm still trying to find that article but in the mean time, here's a similar piece in The New York Times.

The Border Patrol doesn’t routinely test or vaccinate migrants when they’re apprehended, so data on infection rates are generally lacking. Sounds like TBP should do better. But when testing is done, the results are alarming. During a one-week period in California, a staggering 15 percent of migrants released into the community by the Border Patrol were found to be COVID-infected. Well, that sounds high. I have no idea about stats honestly - my only frame of reference is NYS, where the positivity rate is ~1% (as of Wednesday, if I recall correctly), so this sounds bad?

Some of these migrants brought the disease from their home country or picked it up en route, while others caught it in crowded border detention facilities. Either way, once they’re processed by border authorities and board buses to far-away destinations such as New York and Chicago, they pose a national danger. Yeah but they pose a danger to everyone, you know. Don't you dare try to pull 'national security' here when the U.S. health system would be better equipped to manage a COVID-19 infection. Biden and Harris need to slam shut the border for health reasons. Okay, that simply does not follow.

The president also needs to use his bully pulpit to encourage health-care workers here in the United States to get vaccinated. Bully pulpit? What would that involve? I feel like the U.S. gov is running quite the marketing campaign - now, could they be doing things besides bringing Olivia Rodrigo to the White House? Yeah, probably. Should they be? Yeah, probably. Imagine you’re a hospital patient worrying that the nurse treating you or the attendant bringing your lunch has COVID. Nearly one in four hospital workers who has direct patient contact hasn’t received a single dose of vaccine, according to incomplete data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Incomplete because neither HHS nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made it a priority to get that information from all hospitals. Hmm. I know how awful medical information systems and communication is, so I have little to argue with here except that it's really everybody's fault.

Some hospitals have mandated vaccines. NewYork-Presbyterian is giving all employees until Sept. 1 to get at least the first shot in order to keep their jobs. But the 1199SEIU health-care workers union plans to fight against the mandate, and the New York State Nurses Association also opposes it. Hmm, I wonder why? I want to look that up to understand their reasoning. ... No one has a constitutional right to be an unvaccinated health-care worker. Get the jab or get another job. Oooh I actually think I agree. 

The United Kingdom took the radical step of mandating vaccinations for all nursing-home workers and is considering a requirement for all health-care workers. It’s no wonder. Data from earlier in the year show that 20 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID there contracted it in the hospital. Yikes. ... But Democrats, including Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, apparently are so worried about offending union bigwigs that they won’t take sides on the urgency of vaccinating health-care workers. The president has said nothing, literally zip, about this serious health danger. Okay, really? Just because he's not only addressing health workers when he tells people to get vaccinated doesn't mean that he's not talking about the "serious health danger" of getting vaccinated.

As a candidate, Biden promised to “follow the science.” But no surprise, he’s putting politics first. These aren't mutually exclusive ... ? I don't know, this is just falling flat as a critique to me. Biden is promising to go door-to-door to get people vaccinated. Going door-to-door works for getting out the vote, but it’s not enough to solve this public-health crisis. I mean that's fair. I don't think going door-to-door will eliminate COVID-19 in the U.S., or anywhere in the world really.

Some brief thoughts on my reflections:

Betsy McCaughey is the author of “The Next Pandemic” and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.

This was very interesting to me. 'The Next Pandemic' seems potentially EA-aligned because while I get the sense I'll also disagree with it a lot (e.g., "many more Americans will likely die from getting laid off than from the virus"), it supports a conclusion I could easily see myself coming to agree with: "The shutdown wasn’t caused by the virus. It was a frantic response to America’s unpreparedness."


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by markus_over · 2021-07-17T12:25:38.590Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for making this public, found it really interesting to follow your train of thought. Also, despite hearing about it in the past, I had completely forgotten about Julia's book. Added it to my reading list now. :)

Replies from: meerpirat,
comment by meerpirat · 2021-07-18T10:18:07.007Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Seconded, I‘d really like to read more of stream of thought inspections like this. Seems like a great practice and also like a cool way to understand other people‘s thought processes around difficult topics.

comment by Miranda_Zhang ( · 2021-07-17T13:40:32.166Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Glad it was interesting! I did hope that others might be motivated to take up a scout habit if they read this, so I'm happy to hear that you might be one step closer to that. : )

Also, thank you for commenting because I am now realising I didn't include the article that this post is on...

comment by Miranda_Zhang ( · 2021-07-16T18:57:58.287Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think this might be appearing on the front page despite me unchecking the 'Frontpage' box - which seems like a recurring issue for me.

I am sorry if this is on the front page; I don't think it should be and I intended for this to live on my personal blog...

Replies from: aarongertler
comment by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2021-07-22T01:18:22.634Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Keep in mind that some people choose not to apply our default filter (which removes "personal blog" posts from the front page). The only way to completely hide a post from the front page for everyone is to make it a Shortform post or leave it "unlisted" (only available via link).

However, anyone who chooses not to use the filter is by definition interested in personal-blog-type posts, so I think you're fine!

Replies from:
comment by Miranda_Zhang ( · 2021-07-22T09:56:45.140Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Oh, I didn't know that! Appreciate the clarification of how the Forum works.