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We Need to Talk About Covid, Part 1

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 26 January 2022

⏱️ 27 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


It appears that the United States may be at a turning point in the pandemic. The contagiousness of the Omicron variant has many people resigned to the fact that they probably will be infected; this variant is, relative to its predecessors and in most cases, milder; and there is universal vaccine access for those old enough to receive a shot. So, The Times commissioned a poll of 4,400 Americans to discover how they are thinking about the pandemic and gauge how, and when, we might pivot to living with the virus. We explore the results of this poll — and the divides in opinion by age, vaccination status and politics.

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From New York Times, I'm Michael Bavaro. This is Adali.


Today. In a recent poll, the Times set out to understand how Americans were thinking about the pandemic,


as they headed into a third year. I spoke with my colleague, David Lienard,


about what the poll ended up revealing, about how ready or not.


The country is to have a new conversation about how to go on living with the virus.


It's Wednesday, January 26th.


David, you have been at the New York Times for two decades, covering economics, overseeing all of our Washington coverage, writing an op-ed column.


But this is actually your first appearance on the daily, because as we were creating this show, you were off creating your own new approach to the news,


which was a newsletter called The Morning. And it's become a very important part of how many people understand the pandemic.


You have taken a very data-driven approach to helping readers understand where we are or where we aren't at any given moment in these past two years.


And all of which is to say, welcome to the daily, and I'm sorry it has taken so long.


Well, it's great to be here, Michael. I'm as a longtime listener of New York talk radio. I'm reminded of the phrase,


long time listener first time caller, or first and long.


First and long. Love it.


So the reason we want to talk to you today is because as part of your coverage of the virus, David, you decided to commission a public opinion poll about Americans views of the pandemic.


So just to start, what was your goal with this poll? Why a pandemic poll and why now?


Because it seems like we might be at a turning point with COVID. And I think there are a few reasons for that. So first of all, a lot of people have put a lot of effort into avoiding getting COVID.


But Omicron makes that a lot harder because it's just so contagious. And so there are people out there who try really hard to avoid COVID and are now sort of saying, you know what?


I just have to admit that I'm probably going to get it and be okay with that.


And that's understandable because the second thing about Omicron is that it tends to be milder than earlier versions of the virus.


It can still be severe for people who are not vaccinated and for a small number of people who are immunocompromised for very elderly.


But for the vast majority of people, if you are vaccinated and you get Omicron, you are not going to get very sick.


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