Last Friday during a White House press briefing, President Biden’s COVID-19 task force coordinator, Jeff Zients, addressed the nation alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky. While Dr. Fauci and Dr. Walensky gave updates regarding the latest findings and recommended practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zients began the briefing by warning the unvaccinated that they might die this holiday season.
Explaining that the new Omicron variant is “more transmissible” than previous COVID-19 variants and that the White House’s medical experts believe it will lead to “a rise in cases,” Zients said that “unlike last winter, we now have the power to protect ourselves.” Zients conveyed that the current vaccines are effective, “especially,” he said, “for people who get the booster shots when they are eligible.”
Zients reassured those who have already been vaccinated that even if they test positive for COVID-19, they would most likely experience little to no symptoms.
Speaking on behalf of the White House, Zients said, “We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this.”
The White House spokesman then reiterated President Biden’s words from a day earlier, which painted a bleak picture for those who are not vaccinated, saying, “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”
“So, our message to every American is clear,” Zients continued. “There is action you can take to protect yourself and your family. Wear a mask in public, indoor settings. Get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get a booster shot when you’re eligible.”
A few days after the press briefing, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain doubled down on Zients’ words after New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi tweeted, “Who is this for? Unvaccinated Americans are not going to be persuaded by messaging like this.”
“The truth is the truth,” Klain responded to Nuzzi.
How Some Leaders Responded
Gabriel Hughes, Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, responded to the White House’s words, saying, “Pandemic Panic Propaganda: ‘For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.’ The Bible: ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ —Philippians 1:2“