Tuesday, July 27, 2021

No More Screwing Around: Vaccine Mandates Need To Be Imposed Nationally

"The Delta strain is fearsome enough, but if we keep permitting the virus to dance across the defenseless, we could soon have a strain that evades vaccines while retaining lethality, or that attacks children with more force. Over and over again throughout this pandemic, the same pattern has played out: We haven’t done enough to suppress the virus when we still could, so we have had to impose far more draconian lockdowns and grieve far more death, once we have lost control. For this reason among many, I urge those who object to vaccination passports as an unprecedented stricture on liberty to widen their tragic imagination.."-   Ezra Klein,  NY Times

Just three months ago I noted the Indian subcontinent being ravaged by the Delta variant and warned that people here in the U.S. needed to pay attention and get vaccinated  -   e.g.

writing:

As 24% of Americans play the fool and refuse Covid vaccinations, and 5 million others haven't shown up for their second shots - India is in the midst of a viral tsunami.   India is now identifying more than 1 million coronavirus cases every three days, with many times more thought to be going unregistered in a vast country of 1.3 billion,  where public health surveillance is often poor. Daily deaths exceeded 2,800 on Sunday, and so many corpses they are having to be cremated in the streets.

Over the intervening months the 'playing the fool' aspect has only increased (mainly in red states) as misinformation about the vaccines was circulated on Right wing media and social media.  By early June reluctance to get jabbed was so pervasive that the term "vaccine hesitancy" was coined.  Now we are in the midst of  a surge in infections -  in 49 states-  that's been likened to what we beheld in spring last year,

Despite the predictions of Dr. Ashish Jha  for  an early summer of liberation, things have not worked out that way.  By his own admission yesterday morning, the lack of sufficient vaccinations and hesitancy has set the stage for another serious surge.   This results from infections by the Delta variant that have soared throughout the country and spread faster than health experts anticipated. In the past few weeks, every state except Vermont has seen a sudden steep climb in cases.

According to Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University in Ohio:

 We’re seeing it pretty much hit everywhere all at once, which was a bit unexpected,” 

 She expected cases to emerge in the South, where people spend more time in air conditioning during the hot months, before moving northward.  What is evident now is an alarming exponential increase in infections.  According to Dominique Heinke, a postdoctoral epidemiologist in North Carolina:

That’s the tricky thing about exponential growth.  It looks like a whole lot of nothing, and then out of nowhere, seemingly it just skyrockets, and getting it under control is going to be that much harder.”

Well, fortunately, the federal government at least is waiting no longer to mandate vaccines.  With 47,000 new infections per day,  the VA now has been given 8 weeks to get all health personnel vaccinated.  Other federal agencies are sure to follow.  Meanwhile, in France - as reported on ABC last night- vaccine passports are the new norm for being able to go out and socialize. These are now required for restaurants, bars and theaters. President Macron now saying to those who refused vaccination:

"It's time you stay at home, not us!"

With which I totally agree and also that we need a similar ruling here in the U.S.  It is absolutely batshit nuts to yap about "freedom" in the middle of a pandemic, while ignoring responsibility.  

Late yesterday in response to the surge, Los Angeles County led the way in reinstating a mask requirement for indoor spaces, even for vaccinated people, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that unvaccinated students—which includes all those under the age of 12 — wear a mask in school.

The higher transmissibility of Delta and its ability to evade some antibody protection means more opportunities for breakthrough infections among the already vaccinated.  This is why many health specialists are arguing for a return to mask mandates even among the vaccinated.  In St. Louis county Missouri, for example, a new indoor mask mandate is to be imposed by worried health officials. Meanwhile, the Reepo ape state AG said he is planning a law suit to block it.  There  in a nutshell you have why this nation is on the verge of another calamity, another setback - with overwhelmed ICUs, lockdowns etc. to follow.  Do people really want this....again?  Evidently the Repuke tribe does.

Dominique Heinke agrees with the mandate:   “If you’ve got this variant sending out so many more viral particles, proper mask wearing becomes more important,”

Heinke believes- and I agree  - that  Americans got too impatient to be rid of  the virus restrictions.  In her words:  “I think we’ve let our guard down too quickly.” The CDC’s guidance was that vaccinated people can remove masks indoors. But as Heinke pointedly noted:

“But with no way to verify that, it pretty much gave permission for everyone to take off their masks indoors, so that means you have a good number of unvaccinated people unmasked in these spaces where SARS-CoV-2 spreads incredibly efficiently.”

Eric Topol ( professor of molecular medicine and director of Scripps Research Institute), was more direct,  asserting: “I think all people should wear masks, ideally tight-fitting and higher quality, to fend off Delta,”  He noted  this is especially the case if you’re indoors for prolonged periods or places with poor ventilation.   Adding:

" If people will have close face-to-face contact with others whose vaccination status is unknown, it’s better to be prudent and wear a mask until this Delta wave passes.”

Don't like masks?  Then get a valid proof of vaccination card that can pass for a vaccine passport.   Next, we need the authorities to give it their imprimatur and advise this will now be needed to access any social venue.   As in France, it's time to set things right:  Let the unvaccinated give up their reckless "freedom"  and the rest of us who are vaccinated reap the benefits of our positive response. 

See Also:

It’s Time to Start Requiring Covid Vaccines

Excerpt:

Around the country, vaccinations have been ensnared in the partisan polarization that suffuses just about everything these days. Joe Biden carried the 20 states with the highest vaccination rates; Donald Trump prevailed in 19 of the 20 with the lowest rates. (The 10 states in the middle, which include five swing states, were split almost evenly.) The same pattern prevails at the county level. And this red-blue gap is growing.

Nearly 90% of Democrats say they have already gotten vaccinated or intend to do so soon, compared with 54% of Republicans, a number that has not budged since April. Some 23% of Republicans insist that they won’t get vaccinated under any circumstances, and another 8% say that they will not get vaccinated unless they are required to do so. And despite the hopes of policy analysts, only 8% of those who are refusing would change their minds if the Food and Drug Administration’s current emergency-use authorization shifted to full and final approval, as it is likely to do this fall.

In short, we are reaching the limits of the voluntary approach to vaccinations. As we have seen in the past month, the vaccination rate is insufficient to prevent a new wave of infections from the Delta variant, especially in areas where the rate is especially low. A new “pandemic of the unvaccinated” threatens to reverse much of the progress made this year.

Are we limited to policies that rely on voluntary compliance? As a legal and constitutional matter, the answer is clear: No. The issue of whether states can make vaccinations mandatory was settled more than a century ago in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), when a citizen challenged a required smallpox inoculation. When the case reached the Supreme Court, Justice John Marshall Harlan, author of the famous dissent against the “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson, wrote for a seven-justice majority upholding the state’s constitutional power to act as it did.

And:

Vaccine mandates are finally arriving. The Biden administration should embrace them.

And:

by Alex Henderson | July 26, 2021 - 6:51am | permalink


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