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Seems like last year, but this was Thursday in Orlando. Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP

The Biden administration's handling of the Delta surge has left Americans confused and frustrated, fueling media overreaction and political manipulation.

Why it matters: The past year and a half have left Americans cynical about the government's COVID response, and — in many cases — misinformed or uninformed. We're getting fog and reversals when steady, clear-eyed, factual information is needed more than ever.

The past five days were a mess. On Tuesday, the CDC updated its guidance to say vaccinated people in hot spots should wear masks in indoor, public settings — without an easy, definitive way to know if you're in a hot spot.

  • This was a reversal from the CDC's announcement on May 13 — 75 days earlier — that fully vaccinated people could shed masks in most indoor settings, which President Biden called "a great day for America in our long battle with the coronavirus."
  • On Thursday, the Washington Post obtained a CDC deck that included the eye-opening line: "Delta variant is as transmissible as: - Chicken Pox."
  • Yesterday, a CDC report showed the reversal was driven partly by a cluster of COVID cases in Provincetown, Mass., on Cape Cod, in which three-quarters of the infected people were fully vaccinated. Only a few people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
  • The resulting lead headline of today's print New York Times: "IMMUNIZED PEOPLE CAN SPREAD VIRUS, THE C.D.C. REPORT." The online version adds the vital qualifier: "Though Rarely."

The alarmist coverage irritated the White House. A senior Biden administration official told CNN's Oliver Darcy: "The media's coverage doesn't match the moment ... It has been hyperbolic and frankly irresponsible in a way that hardens vaccine hesitancy."

  • Ben Wakana of the White House COVID Response Team tweeted: "VACCINATED PEOPLE DO NOT TRANSMIT THE VIRUS AT THE SAME RATE AS UNVACCINATED PEOPLE AND IF YOU FAIL TO INCLUDE THAT CONTEXT YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG."

Between the lines: Administration officials are awkwardly dancing around the fact that they've run out of politically palatable ways to try to convince people to get their shot.

  • Delta is getting out of control, and becoming angry or coercive with the unvaccinated could go badly.

The bottom line: If you're vaccinated, sure, be more careful — but don't stress out. If you're unvaccinated and you can get a shot, go get it.

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Go deeper

Nov 8, 2021 - Sports

NBA recommends COVID booster shots for players, coaches and referees

Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NBA is calling on players, coaches and referees to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots — with a particular urgent emphasis for those who received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose option, AP first reported on Sunday.

Why it matters: Those who don't get a booster will face game-day testing beginning Dec. 1, notes AP, which obtained the league's memo for its article, which the NBA published on its site.

Nov 7, 2021 - Health

Schools across the U.S. offer COVID vaccine drives

Children wait in line to receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine at an elementary school in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

School districts across the U.S. have begun offering COVID-19 vaccine clinics following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's approval of the shot for younger patients, AP reports.

Why it matters: Many parents eagerly awaited the vaccine's approval for children ages 5-11, as the return to in-person schooling this fall was accompanied by a spike in COVID-19 cases. Now, educators see getting shots in children's arms as key to a return to normalcy in the classroom.

Updated 59 mins ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.