It’s time to step up the pressure on the unvaccinated (advisory)
It is a necessary and late stage. But why aren’t more cities and states taking it? And more importantly: why isn’t President Joe Biden?
Almost a year and a half after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a new, highly contagious variant rages on, one would think our politicians would fare better.
And a few are – certainly the Biden administration’s vaccine deployment competence contrasts sharply with the chaos of Donald Trump and his Covid toads with their denial of science, their disinfectant injection suggestions, and their epidemics of staff. But even somewhat sane leaders still refuse to fully follow science and implement common sense rules to protect public health.
Even now, too many of them are putting politics – and what they seem to assess to be their own political future – before making the difficult but necessary appeals to protect us all.
Perhaps the answer is that Cuomo, who also faces ongoing allegations of sexual harassment and a scathing new report finding those allegations credible, fears a political backlash.
Conservatives early opposed the requirement for “vaccine passports” – proof of vaccination before being able to attend a concert, dine indoors, go to a bar, take a plane, take a cruise or enter in a stadium. And many Liberal officials simply bowed to this opposition.
There’s an obvious and simple fix here, and that’s part of what Cuomo wants restaurants to do on their own: require proof of vaccination for everything inside and not essential, as well as for all. public sector jobs and those that pose a high risk to a vulnerable population – health and care workers, for example. For essential activities – shopping, taking public transport, going to the doctor – the universal mask should be mandatory, as the current honor system of “mask if you are not vaxxed” is obviously ineffective.
This model (you can move away from the politicized “vaccine passport” and call it a health card instead) strikes the right balance between protecting public health and protecting individual freedoms.
It is absolutely the right of a person to refuse vaccination, and our regulations must preserve bodily autonomy. But it is not the fundamental right of a person to go to the club or to eat inside the restaurant of their choice, if it poses a risk to the health of those around them.
This is why it is so infuriating to see politicians shirking their homework here. Cuomo is hardly alone in this case – not a single state, including those with a large Democratic majority, has instituted a vaccine requirement for all non-essential activities.
And while the politicians in the Red States tie the hands of their own citizens to the most effective method of preventing Covid, the blue politicians are obsessed with the rules of the mask, instead of adopting the most effective method of preventing Covid.
Why are most of the leaders of the Blue Cities and Blue States taking such modest half measures? The mayors of Washington, DC and San Francisco have reinstated mask warrants, for example, but have not required vaccinations for indoor meals.
Unfortunately, mask warrants aren’t particularly useful for indoor dining, given that the entire restaurant takes off their masks to eat. The nation has a more effective solution and it is absurd that we do not take full advantage of it.
And there is an opportunity for the Democratic leaders of the Blue States to show the way.