Just Back Off

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It seems that the attack of the Delta Variant has passed its crest and COVID numbers are now dropping sharply, both locally and in most states, including ours.

I attended a couple of local school board meetings last week, and, in both cases, school administrators said infections and quarantines among students and staff were down dramatically from back in September.

Maybe (God willing) this trajectory will continue, though I’m not smart or foolish enough to make any definite predictions about that.

But, according to figures from the CDC, the daily number of people getting vaccinated is also continuing to slow down – in spite of the implementation of vaccine mandates from the feds and many state and local governments, as well as mandates imposed by numerous private corporations and businesses.

And while total COVID infections are going down, the percentage of those involving breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths among vaccinated people is on the rise, though still lower than among unvaccinated folk.

But, any way you slice it, this isn’t just a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” anymore, if it ever was. There’s no denying that many vaccinated people are both catching and spreading the virus, and this messaging from on high that it’s only unvaccinated people who are killing people with COVID and prolonging this pandemic … well, that’s just not going to fly for much longer.

Most experts now believe that COVID will soon move from pandemic to endemic status, and, like the flu, this is going to be something we just have to deal with going forward with limited seasonal and regional outbreaks and an endless parade of variants cropping up now and again. And the vaccination issue, particularly when it comes to what constitutes full vaccination and the efficacy of the vaccines themselves, is going to become more and more of a moving target.

Like I’ve stated before, I truly believe that vaccinations have and will continue to save lives, and most people should get vaccinated. So if you don’t have a real good reason not to, then, please, get the shot.

But, as I’ve also previously predicted, vaccine mandates were always likely to turn into an epic partisan/legal brawl and a big, ugly, divisive mess. That has certainly turned out to be the case – and I wasn’t the only one who saw that coming.

You can call it stubborn independence run amok, the result of mass misinformation, or a genuine, principled stand for people’s sovereignty over their own bodies and a pushback against government overreach – but, regardless of how you view it, it’s becoming pretty clear that a sizable chunk of the population is just not going to get vaxed, mandates or no mandates.

And please correct me if there’s something wrong with my reasoning here, but I have a hard time seeing how kicking thousands, maybe millions of people out of the workforce – including quite a few first responders, medical professionals, and members of the military – is going to save lives. And if the primary goal is not to save lives, then what is it? Punishment? Political gain? Control?

And why are exceptions not being made for those who have had COVID and now have natural immunity? The science is looking pretty solid now that natural immunity is just as good if not better than immunity provided by vaccines. And while most nations in the European Union have enacted social restrictions for unvaccinated people, they are at least recognizing the existence of natural immunity and allowing exemptions for those with natural antibodies. There’s just no good ethical or science-based reason not to do that.

And why has President Biden not yet made his “mandate” regarding private businesses and employees official and legally binding with a signed executive order? For over a month now, all we’ve had is Biden’s stated intent on the matter, but many businesses and corporations are going ahead and acting as if it’s an actual legal requirement when it’s not. Of course, you can’t challenge an executive mandate in court until it’s actually enacted. Maybe that’s the strategy here.

I hope I’m wrong about this, but I’m starting to suspect the primary motivations behind these mandates are political and punitive – a way to separate out and demonize and marginalize certain segments of the population, while others get the green light to virtue signal about their own moral and intellectual superiority.

On the outside chance that anyone with any say in the matter is actually going to read this, my advice is to back down and back off regarding these mandates. And, rather than barking orders and insulting people and threatening their livelihoods, it might be wise (and politically advantageous) to consider a change of course at this point. 

This may sound crazy, but dealing with people respectfully and reasonably and providing real, positive incentives for vaccination just might yield better results. It’s certainly worth a try. 

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