Contact Me By Email

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

CPAC Takeaways: Trump Dominates, and DeSantis and Noem Stand Out. The Party of Sedition, the new Confederacy.

CPAC Takeaways: Trump Dominates, and DeSantis and Noem Stand Out

“At their three-day gathering, pro-Trump conservatives tried to turn “cancel culture” into their new “fake news” and spent little time on policy (either their own or President Biden’s).

Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday. 
Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Any lingering belief that Donald J. Trump would fade from the political scene like other past presidents evaporated fully on Sunday as he spoke for more than 90 minutes in a grievance-filled and self-promoting address that sought to polish up his presidential legacy, take aim at his enemies and tease his political future.

Here are six takeaways from the first major Republican gathering of the post-Trump era, the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Trump has (almost) total dominance.

“I am not starting a new party,” Mr. Trump declared, nixing rumors and making news in the first moments of the first speech of his post-presidency.

And why would he? Mr. Trump remains the most influential Republican politician in the nation. The three-day CPAC gathering in Orlando showed how fully the Republican Party has been remade in his image in the five years since he boycotted the conference in 2016 en route to capturing the party’s nomination.

In a meandering speech guided by a teleprompter and interrupted with cheering that at times read more obligatory than enthusiastic, Mr. Trump lashed out at President Biden and outlined his vision of a culture- and immigration-focused Republican Party while relitigating his specific grievances from 2020.

Mr. Trump named every Republican who voted for his impeachment. “Get rid of them all,” he said. And he predicted a Republican would win the White House in 2024. “Who, who, who will that be, I wonder?” he mused.

The speech came right after Mr. Trump won a CPAC 2024 presidential straw poll, finishing with 55 percent of the vote — more than double the percentage of his closest runner-up. But that victory was dampened by the fact that only 68 percent of the attendees at the conference said they wanted him to run again.

A second straw poll, without Mr. Trump, was carried by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who received 43 percent on his home turf, followed by Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota with 11 percent.

Those results showcased the challenge that senators face in edging ahead of governors in the 2024 pack of potential presidential candidates. Both Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Noem highlighted their efforts to keep the economy open during the coronavirus pandemic, which proved a more popular résumé point than the legislative fights that senators in Washington have been engaged in.

‘Cancel culture’ is the new ‘fake news.’

In his first presidential bid, Mr. Trump adopted “fake news” as a rallying cry against the traditional news media and then effectively and relentlessly deployed it to position himself as the sole arbiter of truth for his supporters.

The lineup of CPAC speakers over the weekend showed how thoroughly a new pair of catchphrases — “cancel culture” and the “woke mob” — are animating a Republican Party that, beyond supporting Mr. Trump, appears increasingly centered on defining itself in opposition to the left.

“Didn’t anybody tell you?” Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri began his CPAC speech. “You’re supposed to be canceled.”

The crowd cheered as “cancel culture” served throughout the weekend as shorthand for bashing the news media, railing against the tech industry (in particular, Twitter’s and Facebook’s decisions to bar Mr. Trump from their platforms), and spreading fear about the decline of conservative and religious values in American popular culture.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, one of his party’s most adroit culture warriors, summarized the annoyance and alienation felt by attendees at the right-wing gathering because of the continuing pandemic.

“You can French kiss the guy next to you yelling ‘Abolish the police’ and no one will get infected,” he mocked. “But if you go to church and say ‘Amazing grace,’ everyone is going to die.”

Audience members cheering Mr. Trump.
Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A ‘rigged’ 2020 is now a G.O.P. article of faith.

T.W. Shannon, a Republican from Oklahoma, was the first to say it. Speaking Friday morning on a panel called “Tolerance Reimagined: The Angry Mob and Violence in Our Streets,” Mr. Shannon said the reason pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 was that “they felt hopeless.”

And that, he said, was “because of a rigged election.”

The election was not rigged, of course, but by the end of CPAC it was clear that the lie Mr. Trump had promoted vigorously had become canon among the base of the Republican Party. On Sunday, the conference’s straw poll results revealed that 62 percent of attendees ranked “election integrity” as the most important issue facing the country.

For those who tuned into Mr. Hawley’s speech, this was probably unsurprising: Mr. Hawley, who was the first Senate Republican to announce his plans to object to the Electoral College certification, electrified the CPAC audience when he reminded them of his defiance.

“On Jan. 6, I objected to the Electoral College certification — maybe you heard about it,” Mr. Hawley said with a wry grin. People erupted in applause.

In interviews, multiple CPAC attendees were adamant that widespread voter fraud had led to the election of Mr. Biden — and some inadvertently suggested the long-term consequences this could pose for the party.

Pamela Roehl, 55, who traveled to the conference from Illinois, said some of her pro-Trump friends had written off civic engagement for good. “They voted for Trump, and they said they’re not going to vote again, because they just feel like it’s so tainted,” she said. “And that is just so sad.”

There was little interest in policy — whether Biden’s or the Republican Party’s.

As the conference began, House Democrats were preparing to approve a coronavirus relief package worth nearly $2 trillion that was opposed by every House Republican. But inside the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, it was hard to find many conservatives who cared.

CPAC in past years has served, at minimum, as a forum for conservatives to unite in opposition to a Democratic policy agenda. But most speakers over the weekend won applause by channeling the preoccupation with personality over policy that animated the party during Mr. Trump’s presidency. The result was an event in which conservatives signaled their lack of interest not just in mobilizing against Mr. Biden’s policies, but also in debating the finer points of their own.

Mr. DeSantis suggested that the current threat posed by the left was too dangerous for conservatives to prioritize policy discussions.

“We can sit around and have academic debates about conservative policy — we can do that,” he said. “But the question is, when the Klieg lights get hot, when the left comes after you: Will you stay strong, or will you fold?”

In an illustration of how Mr. Trump has transformed the party, there was strikingly little mention of curbing spending at a moment when congressional Democrats are moving to restore earmarks. And while CPAC attendees ranked immigration as the third most important issue facing the country, few speakers discussed specific policy proposals to shape the party’s stance on the issue beyond continuing to support Mr. Trump’s border wall.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Kristi Noem is hailed as ‘a female Trump.’

Ms. Noem, who came in second to Mr. DeSantis in the CPAC straw poll without Mr. Trump, was one of the standout speakers of the weekend, delivering a staunchly pro-Trump message and highlighting the anti-lockdown and anti-mask policies that in the past year have made her a darling of the base of the Republican Party.

She jolted to stardom in Republican circles last year when she refused to issue a lockdown order for South Dakota or to enforce a mask mandate. Instead, she advocated “washing your hands and making good decisions.”

South Dakota now has the country’s eighth-highest death rate from Covid-19.

Ms. Noem received a standing ovation at CPAC when she boasted that she had never ordered a “single business or church to close,” and another one when she attacked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

In the hours leading up to her speech on Saturday, many attendees praised Ms. Noem as their favorite Republican — apart from Mr. Trump, of course.

“I like Kristi Noem because she fights back,” said Sany Dash, who sold pro-Trump merchandise at the conference. “I feel like she’s a female Trump, except not crass or rude. ”

The Republican ‘civil war’ remains very much uncanceled.

Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who runs the Republican political committee trying to win back the Senate in 2022, tried to downplay any intraparty disagreements and urged activists to focus on opposing the Democratic agenda.

The problem is that some of his party’s biggest names — including and especially Mr. Trump — are focused first on exacting revenge for those who strayed from the Trump party line on impeachment.

Donald Trump Jr. excoriated Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the top-ranking Republican to vote to impeach his father, as aggressively as he did any Democrat in his speech. Mr. Trump on Friday announced that one of his first 2022 endorsements would be for the primary opponent of Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, another Republican who voted for impeachment. The mere mention of Senator Mitt Romney’s name drew derision.

In his own speech, Mr. Trump named every Republican who voted for his impeachment in the House and for conviction in the Senate, focusing special attention on Ms. Cheney, whom he called a “warmonger.”

At least 18 dead on bloodiest day of Myanmar protests, U.N. says

At least 18 dead on bloodiest day of Myanmar protests, U.N. says

"If they push us, we'll rise. If they attack us, we'll defend. We'll never kneel down to the military boots," one protester said.

Myanmar police fired on protesters around the country on Sunday in the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations against a military coup and at least 18 people were killed, the U.N. human rights office said.

Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Soldiers also reinforced police.“

'I will not be lectured' on bipartisanship: Lawmaker fires back at Jim J...

"How The British Took Over India" - TREVOR NOAH (from "Afraid Of The Dar...

Biden tells the world "America is back." The world isn't so sure. - The Washington Post

Biden tells the world ‘America is back.’ The world isn’t so sure.

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk during a virtual meeting at the White House.

"For President Biden and his circle, a low point in America’s global standing under President Donald Trump came when he blew up a meeting of U.S. allies in 2018, accusing close partners of “robbing” the United States and hurling insults at his Canadian host.

So it was no accident that Biden’s push to reclaim American leadership in recent days has pointedly included a starring role for Canada, as the new administration seeks to woo an array of allies with a message that “America is back.”

But it’s increasingly clear that Biden cannot simply sweep up the broken diplomatic china and restore the world order that reigned when he was vice president. There is one simple reason: Allies know Trumpism could always come back, either in a 2024 bid by Trump himself or from another presidential hopeful offering a similar pitch.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Feb. 25 said he was confident the building targeted was used by the militia responsible for attacks against U.S. personnel. (AP)

That has left friends and foes alike with doubts about the value of any new American commitments, given the country’s deep political divide and the possibility that the pendulum could swing back in four years. Allies have begun hedging their bets, musing about a Europe-only security force and exploring wider trade with China.

That’s even true for America’s closest allies, like Great Britain. “The Bidenites say with good reason that they recognize that ‘not politics as usual’ was the theme of the election in the past few years,” Karen Pierce, Britain’s ambassador to the United States, said. “It is a theme that they know they’re going to have to contend with.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said “there’s no doubt” that foreign leaders now wonder about America’s reliability, given the country’s divisions and the persistence of support for Trump.

Biden directly addresses those doubts in his conversations with his foreign counterparts, Sullivan said in an interview, reminding allies of a history of bipartisan support for institutions such as NATO.

“The president has laid out a strong case about why that is not isolated to one party or one president, that the last four years were an aberration and not some kind of new normal,” Sullivan said.

Biden has spoken to roughly a dozen heads of state since taking office. In addition to recommitting to NATO, the United Nations and global climate efforts, Sullivan said, Biden starts nearly all the calls by recognizing any global agenda for the United States is tied to addressing not only the pandemic at home, but the country’s internal divisions.

“That work at home is vital to our credibility internationally,” Sullivan said, summarizing Biden’s message.

The challenge is clear. Biden has brought the United States back to the Paris climate agreement; rejoined the World Health Organization; returned to the U.N. Human Rights Council; and made moves toward resuming the nuclear deal with Iran. Yet the next president could instantly reverse all those decisions.

Biden is working to persuade U.S. allies that it is unlikely.

“The United States is determined — determined — to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership,” Biden said this month, during his first foreign policy address as president.

Days later, Biden hosted a delighted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — the leader Trump dismissed in 2018 as “very dishonest & weak” — for a video visit at the White House, making him the first foreign leader to be so honored.

Biden has also recommitted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization tenet that an attack on one member is an attack on all, a principle Trump had questioned. And Biden has reassured major U.S. allies in Asia that the United States won’t abandon them or abruptly yank American troops.

The outreach has been greeted with relief by allies bruised by Trump’s isolationism and insults. Trudeau thanked Biden for the shift in style and substance, noting that American officials helping draft a statement about the meeting actually added references to climate change rather than deleting them.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom Trump considered a fellow rabble-rouser, also lashed himself to Biden with a play on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“I believe that Europe increasingly recognizes the necessity of joining our American friends to rediscover that farsighted leadership and the spirit of adventure and transatlantic unity that made our two continents great in the first place,” Johnson said.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have cheered Biden’s commitment to consulting with Europe and defending it under the NATO alliance, while saying some of the European independence forced by Trump should remain.

Pierce, the British ambassador, said that even in the changed landscape, the U.S. posture is critical to the way other countries position themselves. “It’s very striking how American leadership tends to define everything that happens, and without it everything tends to grind to a bit of a halt,” she said.

Any foreign leader tempted to anticipate a return to normalcy under Biden was probably jolted by the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol, which dented U.S. credibility as a powerful voice for democratic principles, Sullivan said when asked about the insurrection on the Capitol.

“On the question . . . of whether the United States has its own house in order, has a strong foundation to be able to effectively engage the world, the president’s answer is, ‘We absolutely have the capacity to pull this country together — but we have work to do,’ ” Sullivan said.

Foreign leaders were further dismayed that American politics seemed unchanged after the jarring spectacle of insurrectionists swarming the Capitol, said Ian Bremmer, president of the risk analysis company Eurasia Group.

“Most allies around the world are very happy to see anyone but Trump as president — and Biden is anyone but Trump,” Bremmer said. But, he added, “the realities of the last four years” have persuaded the global community that Trump was not a one-off.

Notably, several potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates were among those who voted to overturn the 2020 vote. Other GOP hopefuls attended the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, where the agenda included events that perpetuated the falsehood of a stolen election. Trump is set to speak at the conference Sunday in his first major appearance since leaving office last month.

Meanwhile, Biden’s plans for restoring American leadership fall a distant second to his top priority of spurring U.S. recovery from the pandemic and the economic devastation it wrought. The administration is now consumed with pushing a massive economic stimulus package through a divided Congress, making up ground on an unusually slow hiring and confirmation process, and speeding up the national vaccination effort.

The pandemic, for now, rules out in-person diplomacy. Even with vaccines and billions in federal investment, it will probably be months before the U.S. economy turns the corner, and months before Biden or Secretary of State Antony Blinken can begin making or hosting foreign visits.

Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank and a senior State Department official under President George W. Bush, said Biden is rightly focused inward for now.

“His primary focus needs to be on the pandemic and economic recovery,” Zoellick said. “As former chief of staff James Baker said to President Reagan in 1981: ‘Mr. President, you have three priorities: economic recovery, economic recovery and economic recovery.’ ”

Sullivan said the administration sees a global component to many of its domestic challenges, including covid-19. “Not only do we have to vaccinate very American, but we need to build a public health system globally that detects and prevents the next pandemic,” he said.

While some foreign policy problems demand urgency — like the push to reconstitute the Iran nuclear deal — diplomats said allies will give Biden some room to maneuver.

“Of course we know this,” a senior European diplomat said of Biden’s domestic imperatives. “You are not elected by your friends around the world. You are elected by your own citizens.”

Biden’s global outreach is complicated in other ways. For one thing, he is not in a hurry to reverse all of Trump’s policies.

Biden has not lifted Trump’s punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, for example, planning to use them as leverage in an overhaul of U.S. relations with China.

And for now, Biden has left in place steel and aluminum tariffs that European military allies found offensive because of Trump’s implication that those nations posed a security threat to the United States. Biden is expected to move to lift the protectionist measures only after his choice to be the U.S. trade envoy is on the job.

Biden has also disappointed Canada, America’s largest trading partner, with a “Buy American” order meant to keep faith with U.S. workers struggling during the current economic downturn. Canadian firms fear that will shut them out of U.S. government contracts.

Biden canceled a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project, fulfilling a campaign pledge that Canada claims will cost it jobs.

An evidently relieved Trudeau did not bring up any of that during the brief portion of their meeting seen by reporters. Neither leader mentioned Trump either, or the Group of Seven summit in Quebec that produced one of the defining moments of Trump’s hostility toward traditional U.S. allies.

An image from a closed-door session at the time appeared to show a confrontation between Merkel and a defiant Trump. The candid picture was posted to Merkel’s government social media accounts while the tense meeting was underway, suggesting someone wanted it seen.

“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing, and that ends,” Trump declared later, during a combative solo appearance. He refused to sign onto a joint statement after the summit.

At the time, Biden had left the vice presidency just 18 months earlier and had not yet announced his intent to challenge Trump in 2020. When he did declare his candidacy, he stressed domestic flash points like the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, rather than the U.S. position abroad.

But when he won in November, Biden tied the two together. He told cheering supporters he wanted “to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”

Biden tells the world "America is back." The world isn't so sure. - The Washington Post

Supreme Court to consider federal protections for minority voters - The Washington Post

Supreme Court to again consider federal protections for minority voters

Image without a caption

"With one contentious election behind it, the Supreme Court this week will consider the rules for the next, and how federal law protects minority voters as states across the nation race to revamp their regulations.

The court on Tuesday will review the shield provided by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), first passed in 1965 to forbid laws that result in discrimination based on race.

The cases at the Supreme Court involve two voting regulations from Arizona that are in common use across the country. One throws out the ballots of those who vote in the wrong precinct. The other restricts who may collect ballots cast early for delivery to polling places, a practice then-President Donald Trump denounced as “ballot harvesting.”

But the greater impact will be the test that the increasingly conservative court develops for proving violations of the VRA, as new laws are proposed and state legislatures begin redrawing congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 Census.

Reacting to Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud, Republican-led legislatures are racing to enact new laws that cut back on easements to voting implemented in part by the coronavirus pandemic. Even if investigations by Trump’s Justice Department and other Republican officials failed to substantiate the charges, they say changes are need to assure public confidence in election outcomes.

The liberal Brennan Center for Justice says that lawmakers in 33 states have crafted more than 165 bills to restrict voting so far this year — more than four times the number in last year’s legislative sessions. The group attributed the surge to “a rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud” and accused lawmakers of a “backlash to historic voter turnout” last year.

Arizona leads the nation in restrictive proposals, the center said.

In 2013, the Supreme Court made it harder for civil rights groups to challenge such changes. It effectively eliminated the requirement that states proven to have discriminated against minorities in the past receive advance approval from a panel of federal judges or the Justice Department before changing their laws.

Civil rights groups openly worry that the 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder portends a further wearing of the federal law, as the court’s conservative majority has been bolstered since then.

The cases provide the court with “ample invitation to do a lot of harm,” said Myrna Pérez, who is director of voting rights and elections at the Brennan Center. She said the recent election and Trump supporters’ storming of the U.S. Capitol showed the protections are more necessary than ever.

“I think if there was one thing that the election and the insurrection showed us it’s that not everyone buys into the idea of free, fair and accessible elections,” Pérez said in a call with reporters. “We are going to need our institutions like the (Supreme) Court to protect against those who would try to keep our country for themselves.”

While the law protects minorities from government discrimination, the cases at the Supreme Court illustrate how minority voting and partisan politics have become entwined.

The Democratic National Committee brought the challenge of Arizona’s laws, and the Republican Party is on the other side. The state’s Republican governor, attorney general and legislative leaders defend the laws; Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state is content with a federal appeals court striking them down.

The battle plays out in a changing state: Joe Biden won Arizona last November, only the second time a Democratic presidential candidate has prevailed since 1948. The election also provided the state with two Democratic senators for the first time since 1952.

The challenged laws were in place when Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in an interview that it was easier for him to defend the state’s election results from charges of fraud because of the “prophylactic measures” the state had put in place to ensure “voter integrity.”

He took away a different lesson from the election than Pérez. “If we learned anything from the last election cycle, it’s that people have to have confidence in the election results,” Brnovich said.

The court will be examining a part of the voter protection law called Section 2, which was amended in 1982 to prohibit any voting practice that “results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”

It most often has been employed against jurisdictions that rig election lines to dilute minority voters’ impact. But after the Shelby County decision, civil rights groups are using it to challenge restrictions they say place a heavier burden on minority groups.

Lower courts are working through how to apply the law in these new challenges, election law experts say.

“That the first Section 2 vote denial case comes to the Supreme Court as a partisan battle is exceptionally unfortunate,” University of California at Irvine law professor Richard Hasen wrote in an essay on “Because it will focus the justices’ attention less on the cost of restrictive voting laws on minority voters and more on how the parties fight over voting rights rules for partisan gain.”

Both of the Arizona restrictions the court is considering are “commonplace election administration provisions used by Arizona and dozens of other states,” Brnovich told the Supreme Court in asking it to review a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

After Democrats challenged the provisions, a district judge held a trial and upheld them. A panel of the 9th Circuit agreed on a 2-to-1 vote.

But a larger panel of the 9th Circuit reviewed those decisions, and said that the way the provisions were applied in Arizona disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic voters.

Those judges said that the state changed locations of voting places more often in minority communities, leading to voter confusion, and that the rates of discarded “out of precinct” (OOP) votes were far higher in Arizona than in other states. Arizona throws out the entire ballot, even if some races — governor, for instance — are not affected by the voter’s precinct location.

Democrats said that between 2008 and 2016, Arizona discarded 38,335 OOP ballots in general elections, all of which were cast by registered, eligible voters.

The judges said the ban on collecting ballots was intentionally passed — to harm minority voters, who, they said, were more likely to be homebound or disabled and also lacking reliable means to vote in person. Native Americans had in the past been served by community or political leaders who collected early vote ballots, the court said.

“There is no evidence of any fraud in the long history of third-party ballot collection in Arizona,” Judge William A. Fletcher wrote. The court’s 6-to-5 ruling that the discrimination was intentional is a rarity in federal court reviews of state actions.

Arizona countered that it makes exceptions for ballot-handling by family and household members and caregivers, and that nothing prevents Arizona from taking action to prevent fraud.

In the interview, Brnovich said the court focused on the restrictions rather than the other ways the state made it easier for voters to request ballots, vote early, use drop-off boxes or visit voting centers before Election Day.

The Supreme Court accepted the case before the election, and the Trump administration supported Arizona in defending its laws. But civil rights groups were disappointed when the Justice Department recently declined to change its position.

While a career lawyer in the solicitor general’s office separated the Biden administration from the department’s previous view of how Section 2 should be interpreted, he said the department “does not disagree” that Arizona’s restrictions do not violate the law.

Brnovich translated: “Even the Biden Department of Justice seems to agree that our voting laws do not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and I think that’s an indication that maybe the facts aren’t as egregious as the DNC wants everyone to believe.”

The cases are Brnovich v. DNC and Arizona Republican Party v. DNC."

Supreme Court to consider federal protections for minority voters - The Washington Post

Opinion | Get Whatever Covid-19 Vaccine You Can - The New York Times

Which Vaccine Should You Get?

"When there are multiple shots of varying effectiveness, take whatever is available to you first.

By Bruce Y. Lee

Dr. Lee is the executive director of Public Health Informatics, Computational and Operations Research, a public health research group, and a professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Another available vaccine will be a welcome boost to the vaccination effort.
Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

This Op-Ed has been updated to reflect news developments.

More vaccines are coming soon.

The one-dose coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson was endorsed on Friday by an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration, and authorized on Saturday. The F.D.A. approved emergency use of the vaccine, which has been shown to strongly protect recipients against severe disease and death from the virus, so there will soon be three different shots on the market in the United States. Another available vaccine for Covid-19 will be a welcome boost to the effort of getting people vaccinated faster.

While any approved vaccine has been deemed safe and effective, there’s a chance some vaccines may be more effective than others. You may wonder if you should hold out for what you perceive to be the very best vaccine, but the evidence suggests that we all should get the first vaccine available to us.

The data shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been 66 percent effective at preventing moderate and severe Covid-19, and has had a 72 percent overall efficacy rate in the United States. That is a bit lower than the measured effectiveness of over 90 percent in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 for the two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

This doesn’t mean that you should try to get one vaccine over the other. That’s for a couple of reasons: Getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible will save the most lives, and for any given person, a “less effective” vaccine will still provide substantial protection against severe Covid-19.

When it comes to slowing or stopping the pandemic, modeling studies from our team of public health researchers and computer scientists show that vaccinating as many people as possible sooner is more important than waiting for a vaccine with higher effectiveness.

We developed a computational simulation model of the entire United States to assess what would happen if people get vaccines of varying levels of efficacy at different rates and times. As we reported in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, in most cases, getting people vaccinated sooner with a lower efficacy vaccine prevented many more Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths compared to waiting even just a month for a higher efficacy vaccine.

Consider an example: Say the United States was able to get one million people a day fully vaccinated, with a vaccine with 90 percent efficacy (about what’s been happening so far) and continued until 60 percent of the population was fully vaccinated. At this rate, it would take about six and half months.

For comparison, consider a scenario where people are fully vaccinated at a faster rate of 1.5 million a day with a lower efficacy vaccine of around 70 percent until 60 percent of the population was fully vaccinated. At this faster rate, this would take about four months.

We found that this faster scenario with the lower efficacy vaccine could end up preventing on average over 1.38 million more cases, over 51,000 more hospitalizations, and over 6,000 more deaths than the slower- vaccination, higher-efficacy-vaccine scenario. This underscores the importance of getting as much of the population vaccinated as soon as possible to slow the spread of the virus.

People should also avoid putting too much weight on reported vaccine effectiveness numbers in general. A vaccine’s effectiveness may vary based on your risk of catching the virus, potentially dropping as the virus becomes more widespread in a given area.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine Phase 3 clinical trials started last summer, when transmission of the coronavirus was lower than it is now. The Johnson & Johnson Phase 3 trials started about two months later, on Sept. 23,as the transmission of the virus was increasing, possibly because of factors like changing weather conditions and more indoor activity. It’s possible that the real difference between the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing people from getting sick from Covid-19 is smaller than reported.

Moreover, the effectiveness data that’s been reported so far is only one measure of a vaccine’s benefit. There are different types of effectiveness, not just how well the vaccine prevents Covid-19 with symptoms. For example, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was measured to be 86 percent effective in preventing severe Covid-19 in the United States, and showed 100 percent efficacy against hospitalization and death, which will cut down on crowding at hospitals. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine also requires only one dose and regular refrigeration temperatures for storage, which means it may be easier to distribute.

Finally, this may not be the only time that you will get a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccines may not offer lifetime protection, especially if new variants continue to emerge, and further doses may be needed to bolster immunity. Getting any of the approved vaccines when you are eligible is important, not just for protecting yourself, but for helping get life back to normal for everyone.

Bruce Y. Lee is the executive director of Public Health Informatics, Computational and Operations Research, a public health research group, and a professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy."

Opinion | Get Whatever Covid-19 Vaccine You Can - The New York Times