Last night on Real Time with Bill Maher, the HBO host returned to the air for the first time since November to kick off Season 20 of the show. During his opening monologue he told his studio audience that it was “wonderful to see your beautiful masks again.”
Most of the episode was dedicated to discussing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the fatigue that many are facing as a result. Maher and his panel guests looked back on the events that have occurred since his Season 19 finale in November, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant that surfaced.
Author/journalist Bari Weiss and New York Congressman Ritchie Torres joined Maher to discuss the hot topic.
Maher noted that there’s “A reset going on in the world. We have to live with (the coronavirus). It’s not going away.” Torees agreed.
“I think we’re gradually transitioning to normal,” Weiss added, “I’m done with Covid.” She also noted, however, that “We haven’t gotten back to normal. And it’s ridiculous at this point.”
Weiss elaborated on her frustration, stating that many people she knows were afraid to have an opinion on masks or vaccine passports for fear of being labeled and criticized by others. “It’s like, at this point, it’s a pandemic of bureaucracy,” she said.
Maher mentioned that Florida, where restrictions aren’t enforced, has a much different vibe than other states, particularly on the coasts. Torres pushed back on that idea, reminding him that the early stages of the pandemic were tragic, resulting in overcrowded emergency rooms, mass graves, and people fleeing New York state. “I reject the notion that the response has been worse than the disease itself.”
Maher added that we now know that vaccination “does not stop you from getting it. It doesn’t stop you from transmitting it. It just stops you from dying when you do get it. That’s a huge difference, and counteracts that we need the vaccination to protect other people. It protects you, so it’s just about you.”
“The point is if you’re choosing not to get (vaccinated), we’re not stopping the world for the sake of those foolish (unvaccinated) people,” Weiss agreed.
The panel then focused on crime, which is soaring in America. Torres pointed at the proliferation of guns as the root cause of the crime wave, however Maher countered that “guns were always there.”
Maher then mentioned the easing of certain legal restrictions by progressive district attorneys around the country, which he feels has added to the crime problem rather than helped.
Weiss spoke about San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s recent change in position on crime, which she felt was an encouraging sign. Torres didn’t agree. “The soft on crime critique is a caricature rather than a fair characterization,” he insisted, doubling down on his stance that more guns on the street is causing more crime.
You can check out part of the panel discussion above.
Michael is a music and television junkie keen on most things that are not a complete and total bore. You can follow him on Twitter — @Tweetskoor
The post Bill Maher Says We Have To Ease Restrictions & Learn To Live With COVID-19 On HBO’s ‘Real Time’ appeared first on Decider.