CLAIM: A coronavirus surge means that “if someone else has a heart attack, or breaks a hip, there may not be a hospital bed for them.”
VERDICT: PROBABLY FALSE. Hospitals did not run out of beds during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will require all federal employees, and employees of federal contractors, to be vaccinated for coronavirus, or else submit to regular testing and be required to wear masks. He proposed an incentive of $100 to encourage unvaccinated people to take the shot. And he warned the unvaccinated that he was placing other lives at risk.
In so doing, he stretched the truth, warning that hospitals could be so full of coronavirus patients that they would not have room for people who needed urgent, emergency medical care. That never happened even during the worst of the pre-vaccine coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, when President Donald Trump dispatched Navy hospital ships and Army field hospitals to New York and to Los Angeles to provide extra beds in anticipation of overwhelmed hospitals, they were largely idle.
It is even less likely now that hospitals will be overwhelmed, since vaccinated people are far less likely to require hospitalization even if they are infected with the coronavirus, including the new and highly contagious Delta variant.
Biden’s misleading statement may have good intentions — i.e. to encourage people to take the vaccine — but it could also reinforce public suspicion of government policy, including — or even especially — when politicians cite “the science.” It also runs the risk of spreading unnecessary fear, which could have negative consequences for the economy and public health.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.