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(LifeSiteNews) — The nation saw and heard a new tone on the COVID-19 pandemic during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech Tuesday.

“For more than two years, COVID has impacted every decision in our lives and the life of this nation,” said Biden. “We’ve reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19, where severe cases down to a level not seen since last July.”

In other words, it’s safe to go mask-free, even though members of Congress that evening were all socially distanced.

The retrenching from the fear, doom, and gloom was so striking, and so irritating to lockdown skeptics, that Alex Berenson blogged during the speech: “… now the walls are coming down and they’re begging us to forget what they’ve done.”

Andrea Widburg in The American Thinker noted a few days earlier how you know Democrats have finally capitulated on lockdown policies when Saturday Night Live makes fun of them. The show did a skit of elite-looking people eating at a restaurant and starting to come to terms that the masks, lockdowns, and vaccines didn’t do much in stopping the virus.

“It’s fairly crude, heavy-handed humor, but humor is not the point,” writes Widburg. “The point is to give their leftist audience members permission to take off their masks, ease off of shots, and stop harassing those who have never bought into these cruel and ineffective measures.”

The science has changed?

In explaining the lifting of mandates, politicians and opinion leaders were telling Americans, “the science has changed.” Yet, looking at timeline comparisons on the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, nothing appears remarkable in the last 4 weeks when the about-face began to take place.

The seven-day average of cases hit an all-time peak on January 11, 2022, after one year of vaccines and nearly two years of masks, social distancing, and lockdowns. Deaths peaked in January 2021 but jumped again one year later. Cases and deaths are still not at their lowest levels.

The polls have changed

What has changed is the public’s patience with the top-down virus containment orders.

On January 31, Monmouth College released a poll that found 70 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “it’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.” Most significant was the 71 percent agreement among independent voters.

On January 5, The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports released a poll that shows majorities of Democrats endorse some of the most heavy-handed policies against people who have chosen not to get the COVID-19 shots.

Jim Lakely, the vice president of The Heartland Institute, said the response to the poll was like none other the organization has done,

“I think this poll has hit such a nerve because it verifies, with data, what regular Americans have experienced in their everyday lives over the past two years. It was their left-leaning family members who insisted no visits unless you are vaccinated,” said Lakely. “It was their left-leaning friends who declined invitations to get together for fear of catching COVID. And it was the left-leaning media outlets that pumped up the volume of panic over COVID. The plural of anecdotes is not data, but this polling data proves their personal anecdotes were widely true across the population.”

By February 27, Biden’s approval rating hit a new low. The Washington Post-ABC News poll found 55 percent of those polled disapprove of his performance while 37 percent approve. Forty-four percent say they strongly disapprove of the job he has done,

The mid-term elections

Such sentiment could strongly impact Democrats during the mid-term elections. All 435 seats in the U.S. House and 35 seats in the U.S. Senate will be contested, plus nearly two-thirds of all state governors and hundreds of state legislators.

“It’s time for Democrats to take credit for ending the COVID crisis phase of the COVID war,” states a February 24 memo from political consulting firm “Impact Research.” The memo lays out “strategic thoughts” for party members trying to position themselves after two years of disruptive policies.

The memo suggests Democrats be empathetic to the frustration felt by the public. “Recognize that people are ‘worn-out’ and feeling real harm from the years-long restrictions and take their side,” states the memo. It continues that many people have moved beyond the virus and are now focused on the economy.

Other advice includes “acknowledge COVID still exists and likely will for a long time.”

Such words are a dramatic departure from comments made by Democrats less than two years ago. “If you’re not wearing a mask in public, you’re endangering everyone around you, so the enemy is you,” said Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker on July 22, 2020. Biden has said at least once during his campaign that he would “shut down the virus.”

Referring to the 220,000 people who had died in the U.S. from COVID-19, Biden said during the second presidential debate that “anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain President of the United States of America.” One year into Biden’s first term, that number reached 803,593, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The memo also tells Democrats not to “set ‘COVID zero’ as the victory condition,” and to “stop talking about restrictions and the unknown future ahead.”

Impact Research did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

AnneMarie Schieber ([email protected]) is a contributor to LifeSiteNews and the managing editor of Health Care News.

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