As Virus Cases Rise, Another Contagion Spreads Among the Vaccinated: Anger
As coronavirus cases reappear across the country, many vaccinated Americans are losing patience with vaccine resistors who they say are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to conspiracy theories and misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews masks advisories.
The country appeared to be emerging from the pandemic; barely a month ago, a feeling of celebration was palpable. Today, many vaccinated people fear for their unvaccinated children and fear that they themselves may be at risk of major infections. Rising case rates are shaking up plans to reopen schools and workplaces and threaten another wave of infections that could overwhelm hospitals in many communities.
“It’s like the sun has risen in the morning and everyone is arguing about it,” said Jim Taylor, 66, a retired civil servant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a state in which less than half of adults are fully vaccinated.
“The virus is out there and it’s killing people, and we have a proven way to stop it – and we won’t. It is a scandal.
The growing sentiment is helping to support more coercive measures. Scientists, business leaders and government officials are asking for vaccination warrants – if not by the federal government, then by local jurisdictions, schools, employers and businesses.
“I got angrier and angrier over time,” said Doug Robertson, 39, a teacher who lives outside of Portland, Ore., And has three children too young to be vaccinated, one of whom is very young. -little boy with a serious health problem.
“Now there is a vaccine and a light at the end of the tunnel, and some people choose not to walk towards it,” he said. “You are making things darker for my family and others like mine by making this choice.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday ordered all city workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the time schools reopen in mid-September or be tested weekly. California officials followed suit hours later with a similar mandate covering all state employees and healthcare workers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday demanded that 115,000 on-site healthcare workers be vaccinated over the next two months, the first federal agency to issue a warrant. Nearly 60 major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, on Monday called for mandatory vaccination of all healthcare workers.
“It’s time to start blaming unvaccinated people, not ordinary people,” frustrated Gov. Kay Ivey, Republican of Alabama, told reporters last week. “It’s the unvaccinated people who let us down.”
There is no doubt that the United States has reached an inflection point. According to a database maintained by the New York Times, 57% of Americans aged 12 and over are fully immunized. Eligible Americans receive an average of 537,000 doses per day, down 84% from the peak of 3.38 million in early April.
Due to the delay in vaccination and the lifting of restrictions, infections are increasing. As of Sunday, the country was recording 52,000 new cases per day, on average, an increase of 170% from the previous two weeks. Hospitalization and death rates are also increasing, but not as rapidly.
Communities from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, are recommending that vaccinated people wear masks again in indoor public places. Citing the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, Los Angeles and St. Louis, Missouri counties have ordered indoor mask warrants.
For many Americans who were vaccinated months ago, the future is starting to look bleak. Frustration puts a strain on relationships, even in tight-knit families.
Josh Perldeiner, 36, a public defender from Connecticut who has a 2-year-old son, was fully immunized in mid-May. But a close relative, who visits her often, has refused to be vaccinated, although he and other members of her family have urged her to do so.
She recently tested positive for the virus after traveling to Florida, where hospitals are filling up with Covid-19 patients. Now Mr Perldeiner fears his son, too young for a vaccine, has been exposed.
“It goes beyond mere endangerment,” he said. “The privileged people refuse the vaccine, and it affects our economy and perpetuates the cycle.” As infections increase, he added, “I feel like we are on the same precipice as just a year ago, where people don’t care if more people are dying. . “
Hospitals have become a special flashpoint. Vaccination remains voluntary in most settings, and it is not mandatory for caregivers in most hospitals and nursing homes. Many large hospital chains are just starting to require employees to be vaccinated.
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Even though she is fully vaccinated, Aimee McLean, a nurse case manager at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, worries about contracting the virus from a patient and inadvertently passing it on to her. father, who suffers from severe chronic lung disease. Less than half of Utah’s population is fully vaccinated.
“The more we don’t reach that number, the more it feels like there is a decent percentage of the population who honestly don’t care about us as healthcare workers,” said Ms McLean, 46 years.
She suggested that health insurers link coverage of hospital bills with immunizations. “If you choose not to be part of the solution, then you should be responsible for the consequences,” she said.
Many schools and universities are expected to resume face-to-face classes as early as next month. As the number of infections increases, these settings have also seen the tension build between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on reopening K-12 schools are tied to rates of transmission of the virus in the community. In communities where vaccination is overdue, these rates are rising and vaccinated parents must again worry about epidemics in schools. Vaccines are not yet authorized for children under 12 years old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised children to wear masks in class when schools reopen. School districts from Chicago to Washington began implementing the warrants on Friday.
Universities, on the other hand, can often require vaccination of students and staff. But many did not, frustrating the vaccinated.
“If we respect the rights and freedoms of the unvaccinated, what happens to the rights and freedoms of the vaccinated? said Elif Akcali, 49, who teaches engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The university does not require students to be vaccinated, and with rates soaring in Florida, it is concerned about exposure to the virus.
Some even wonder what sympathy they should have for their fellow citizens who are not acting in their own interests. “I feel like if you choose not to get the vaccine and now you get sick, it’s kind of your pain,” said Lia Hockett, 21, director of Thunderbolt Spiritual Books in Santa Monica, in California.
Understanding the State of Vaccination Mandates in the United States
As the virus begins to spread again, some vaccinated people believe the federal government should start using sticks instead of carrots, like lottery tickets.
Carol Meyer, 65, of Ulster County, NY, suggested withholding stimulus payments or tax credits from those refusing vaccinations. “I think we have a social contract in this country with our neighbors, and people who can get the vaccine and choose not to be vaccinated are breaking it,” Ms. Meyer said.
Bill Alstrom, 74, a retired innkeeper in Acton, Mass., Said he would not support measures that would directly affect families and children, but asked if federal government funding should be denied to States that are not meeting immunization targets.
Maybe the federal government should require employees and contractors to be vaccinated, he thought. Why should federal funding not be denied to states that fail to meet immunization targets?
Although often viewed as a conservative phenomenon, reluctance and refusal of vaccination occurs in all political and cultural fields in the United States, and for a variety of reasons. No single argument can address all of these concerns, and changing your mind is often a slow and individualized process.
Pastor Shon Neyland, who regularly pleads with members of his church in Portland, Oregon, to be vaccinated against Covid-19, estimated that only about half of the Church members at the Highland Christian Center have been vaccinated. There have been tensions within the congregation over the vaccination.
“It is disappointing, because I have tried to help them see that their life is in danger and that it is a serious threat to humanity,” he said.
Shareese Harris, 26, who works at the Grace Cathedral International office in Uniondale, NY, has not been vaccinated and “takes my time with it.” She is concerned that the vaccines may have long-term side effects and that they have been rushed to the market.
“I shouldn’t be judged or forced to make a decision,” Ms. Harris said. “Society will just have to wait for us.
Growing resentment among those vaccinated may well lead to public support for more coercive demands, including warrants, but experts warn that punitive measures and social ostracism can backfire, ending dialogue and efforts. awareness raising.
Elected officials from several Los Angeles County communities, for example, are already refusing to apply the county’s new mask mandate.
“Anything that reduces the opportunity for honest dialogue and an opportunity for persuasion is not a good thing,” said Stephen Thomas, professor of health policy and management at the School of Public Health of the ‘University of Maryland. “We are already in isolated and siled information systems, where people are in their own echo chambers.”
Soft persuasion and lingering encouragement convinced Dorrett Denton, a 62-year-old homemaker in Queens, to get the shot in February. Her employer repeatedly urged Denton to get the vaccine, but it was ultimately her doctor who persuaded her.
“She said, ‘You’ve been coming to see me since 1999. How many times have I operated on you and your life was in my hands? You trust me for your life, don’t you? ‘ Remembers Denton.
“I said, ‘Yes, doctor.’ She said, “Well, trust me on that one. “
Giulia Heyward has contributed reporting from Miami, Sophie Kasakove from New York and Livia Albeck-Ripka from Los Angeles.
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