Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has a message for President Joe Biden: If you want to be successful at combatting the COVID-19 pandemic like you promised, put facts over fear.
What is the background?
Polis made headlines last week after he denounced public health officials mandating what the public should or should not wear, a reference to face mask mandates.
"The emergency is over. You know, public health doesn’t get to tell people what to wear. It’s just not their job," Polis said. "You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in the winter and force them to. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault."
What is Polis saying now?
During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked Polis whether he had "any second thoughts about the state intervening" in the lives of Coloradans in light of comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci about the Omicron variant.
Not only did Polis not waver, he doubled down.
"You know, Chuck, we’re two years into this thing. And I think it’s really important that our leaders — whether they’re governors or mayors, local influencers — lead with facts rather than fear," Polis said.
"People just don’t react well to this ongoing environment of fear for two years. Let’s lead with the facts," he added. "Look, the science-driven information people need to keep themselves safe with the individual freedom and local control that we deserve. That’s where we are at this point."
Gov. Polis: Unvaccinated People ‘Are Often Victims Of Misinformation’ www.youtube.com
Later in the interview, Todd asked Polis what he would tell Biden if the president called and asked for advice ahead of his national address on the Omicron variant.
Polis responded that he would instruct Biden to stop talking about a COVID-19 vaccine "booster" and instead focus on the economy and the COVID vaccine as a three-dose vaccine.
"I would say, 'Stop talking about the vaccine as a booster; [talk] about it as three doses that are needed for effective prevention.' People who’ve gotten those three doses in our Colorado data, which is similar to the national data, are 47 times less likely to die than people that are unvaccinated. It essentially negates the risk. Nothing is risk-free in life," Polis explained.
"I’d also say, we need to focus on prices, increases in prices and costs that people across the country are facing. People are frustrated their Thanksgiving turkey cost 50% more, gas is $3.80 a gallon. Let’s show some relief," Polis added. "In Colorado, it’s cutting vehicle registration fees, it’s making it free to start a business. We’ve cut taxes twice. So, these kinds of things that show that we’re doing what we can to make sure that families can get by and thrive."
What is Biden doing?
Biden's current strategy is to do the opposite of what Polis suggested.
Speaking about the Omicron variant last Thursday, Biden said, "We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm. But there's good news: If you're vaccinated and you have your booster shot, you're protected from severe illness and death."
The president is expected to maintain that tone Tuesday when he delivers a national address on the Omicron variant. In fact, Biden is expected to deliver a "stark warning" to unvaccinated Americans.