Soon grandparents across the country will be hugging their grandchildren for the first time in nearly a year and doing so without fear of catching a deadly disease.
The thumbs up Monday to fully vaccinated grandparents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of broader guidance from the nation’s top health protection agency that represents glimmers of American life returning to a semblance of normalcy. Fully vaccinated people can now assemble indoors and maskless with other fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people can also visit indoors with a small group, such as another household, even if members of that group aren’t vaccinated.
“For example,” the CDC wrote, “fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19.”
The new guidance—taken together with the impending enactment of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and an accelerated vaccination rollout—form the outline of a powerful Democratic message heading into 2022. Democrats went to Washington and fought for the American people and now the nation is on the path to recovery. The $1,400 direct payments and expansive child tax credits will certainly serve as proof positive of that message. But the psychological effects of emerging from isolation and being able to reunite with family members are likely to play an equally powerful role in determining Americans’ mindset as they head to the polls for the midterms next year.
Democrats could be in position to draw a very sharp contrast between the two parties as voters weigh whether to put Republicans back in charge of either congressional chamber: We helped you put food on the table, Republicans didn’t; we helped save lives, Republicans didn’t; we gave you back your life, Republicans didn’t.
Of course, part of that Democratic message will depend on continued gains in the economy along with the advent of school reopenings across the country—something over which the federal government ultimately has little control. Still, the Biden administration has been working overtime trying to convince states to prioritize vaccinating teachers in order to clear the path to safe school reopenings sooner rather than later.
November 2022 is a long ways away, but less than two months into Biden’s term, Democrats have already made a nice down payment on a rallying cry for the midterms.