Sunday morning talking heads


A grim sign of the endless pandemic: We’re now a year past the rollout of the mRNA vaccines and Anthony Fauci is still a regular on the Sunday shows. He’s booked for “This Week” this morning to discuss the outlook on the new variant as Americans prepare to gather for Christmas and New Year’s. He’s tried to sound upbeat in interviews about Omicron so far, stressing that the early data on severity is encouraging and that we might not need an updated vaccine for the virus after all, but that can only last so long. Optimism just isn’t his bag. At a minimum, I’d expect him to start nudging Americans this morning to maybe think about skipping the office Christmas party this year.

Another expert on viruses who’s scheduled is worth watching, though. Tulio de Oliveira is one of the South African scientists who first identified Omicron via genomic sequencing and announced its emergence to the world. He’s set for “Face the Nation” to discuss what he’s seeing on the ground locally after a few weeks of spread. When does he think cases will peak? Is the variant inherently “mild” or does it just look mild because it’s mostly spreading among people with prior immunity so far? He’ll answer those questions and inevitably argue that it’s time to lift the travel ban on South Africa. Omicron is already spreading aggressively in the UK; if we’re not banning travel from there, it’s pointless to ban it from Africa.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire will also be a guest this morning on “Face the Nation.” Sununu occupies an unusual niche within the GOP, someone who’s Trump-friendly but eager to signal that he’s not MAGA in spirit. (See also Glenn Youngkin.) Case in point:

Sununu will discuss his traditionally conservative view of employer vaccine mandates and his decision not to run for Senate in his home state, a major blow to the GOP’s hopes for taking back the majority.

Finally, on “Meet the Press,” Antony Blinken will discuss what the U.S. is and isn’t prepared to do if Putin makes his move on Ukraine while Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear updates the country on the devastation Friday night’s tornado unleashed on his state. The video below of one town’s suffering is mind-boggling. The full line-up is at the AP.





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