USA Today’s weekend edition, publishing Friday, is unusual. Its banner front page headline says, “We are failing one another.”
The newspaper describes “America’s fourth Covid-19 surge,” noting this “didn’t have to happen,” since vaccinations are so widely available. The headlines are followed by a call to action: “Let’s end it now.”
A map on the front page, drawn from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, shows what the agency identifies as “high” community transmission in many counties from west to east.
Reporter Ken Alltucker writes about the high levels of hospitalizations “in regions where large swaths of unvaccinated people provide little resistance to the highly contagious delta variant.”
The message is clear: The United States is in the throes of a new Covid crisis, due to vaccine resistance, and everyone is affected.
USA Today’s publisher, Gannett, says it also dedicated four inside pages of the weekend edition to the Covid surge, including fact-checks; reliable info about vaccines; and a column by USA Today editor Nicole Carroll, who conveys a conversation with her own brother who refuses to get vaccinated.
Louie Villalobos, a member of the USA Today editorial board, has a column on the front page that begins this way:
“We are not here to preach or condescend. We’re just going to tell you where things stand with Covid-19 and what we need to do if we have any chance of returning to some kind of ‘normal’ anytime soon.”
“Our children are going back to classrooms in herds,” Villalobos wrote. “Our workplaces are going to start opening back up. Airports are crowded again. Restaurants, movie theaters, music festivals and tourist attractions are all making comebacks.”
So, Villalobos wrote, “if we don’t get strict about how that happens, 2020 could make a deadly return. This is on us. So let’s get started.”