There will be no such thing as “zero COVID,” no matter what government and public health experts say.

We now know the script.

When the next COVID variant raises its head – and it likely will – the “experts” in the federal government and the public health community, assisted dutifully by the mainstream media, will say the world must again hit pause.

Even with the vaccination of nearly 190 million Americans and the natural immunity of 44 million more Americans who have recovered from the virus, when COVID cases spike again, the talking heads will say more restrictions, shutdowns, and mandates must be enacted by the heavy hand of government for the “public good” and to “slow the spread” all while children are sent home from schools, jobs are lost, businesses close, and families struggle.

The Democrats’ playbook seems to be to use any spike to advocate for another round of government “relief,” increasing their stranglehold on the U.S. economy through more social programs and cradle-to-grave handouts as they play Robin Hood using “equity” and “fairness” as their primary talking points in their pursuit to appeal to the masses.

Truth is, however, none of that is necessary based on the data.

According to CDC data, in 2020, the U.S. reported nearly 21 million cumulative COVID cases and approximately 369,000 deaths related to the virus. The virus tracking began in January and was not viewed as a full blown pandemic until late Spring. What resulted was large scale travel restrictions, school and business shutdowns, and far-reaching mask and social distancing mandates put in place for most of the U.S. by local, state, and federal governments much of that year.

As of today, the reported COVID cases have surpassed 43 million cumulative cases with over 704,000 deaths nationwide, even with the COVID vaccines having been available for nine months. Restrictions have lessened in most parts of the U.S. with travel, events, and business operations returning to normal throughout the country, especially in Republican-led states, much to the chagrin of the Biden Administration.

But public health experts advocating for seemingly continued nonsensical restrictions on the vaccinated seem fundamentally unable to resolve the paradox that if vaccines work as well as they clearly appear to, the vaccinated really do not have anything to worry about and hence should not be meaningfully restricted (i.e. masks, indoor gatherings, travel, etc.) in any way.  For those who are unvaccinated, well, that is a choice they have made.

To put it bluntly – COVID will COVID, no matter what government and public health experts say.

To date, over 56% of Americans have been fully vaccinated and over 65% have received at least one dose. In Mississippi, roughly 46% of the state population is fully vaccinated and some 52% have received at least one dose.

Notably, the CDC reports that of the fully vaccinated, over 61% are white while just over 10% are black. In Mississippi, MSDH reports that nearly 57% of the fully vaccinated are white and over 38% are black, far exceeding the national minority statistic.

Despite the media’s narrative, Mississippi is not under water with COVID nor has the Magnolia State been left rudderless from the Governor, the Department of Health or Emergency Management.

What has occurred in the Magnolia State is a careful balancing act performed by these state leaders to allow Mississippians to make their own decisions while providing the resources necessary to keep schools and the economy open without further exacerbating the pandemic for already struggling families and communities or using it to expand state government.

The real concern COVID exposed was in hospital systems. Here in Mississippi, millions and millions of tax dollars were poured into health care from state and federal funds over the past two years but when the variant spike hit, most were ill-prepared despite the fair warning and public investment. In most parts of the state, the fact that hospitals had not properly invested in their staffs, namely nurses, was brought to light nearly overnight.

In an unprecedented response time, Governor Tate Reeves, MEMA and MSDH mobilized units and called in out-of-state assistance to ease the load on these facilities that were woefully found lacking. Had these hospitals done more to invest in their human capital as they improved their facilities, grew their footprints, and sought to make health care like a luxury resort stay such extreme measures would not have been required.

Now, some public officials and the media want to use the hospitals’ faults in their hiring practices to justify a taxpayer funded bailout that would send more millions to these health care facilities to subsidize nurses and other staffing rather than holding them accountable for the millions already received and expecting them to be wise stewards of the public’s trust.

If COVID has taught us nothing else, it has taught us this: Just because a problem exists, it does not mean the government can fix it. A crisis should never be used to justify permanently growing the size and scope of government.

In fact, as the data shows in comparing COVID cases and deaths in 2020 and 2021, government can mandate, restrict, tax, spend and subsidize whatever it wants – even in a pandemic – and it makes little to no difference when it comes to the actual outcomes, other than increasing its intrusion into the private and public lives of the American people.