Mandate Momentum – The New York Times
The momentum for vaccine mandates appears to be building – which ultimately could matter far more than any mask-wearing directive.
Facebook, Google and Netflix all said yesterday that they would require many employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with a few exceptions for medical or religious reasons. The companies have joined Morgan Stanley, the Washington Post and several other prominent private employers.
Several local governments – including New York State yesterday – have announced labor mandates that cover a few million people combined. In some cases, people can take a regular Covid test instead of getting the vaccine.
More than 600 universities have announced mandates for students or employees. The state of California, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, joined the list on Tuesday. Many hospitals also have mandates, including the sprawling Veterans Health Administration and the Mayo Clinic.
Perhaps the biggest new rule should be announced today – by President Biden, covering the millions of people who work for the federal government.
These high-profile announcements make it much easier for other organizations considering terms of office: their leaders no longer have to worry, they will receive national attention for adopting one.
However, vaccination mandates remain the exception. The vast majority of private companies have not required their workers to be vaccinated. Almost no large company has required their customers – like airline passengers or theatergoers – to be vaccinated either. (One of the hurdles, some companies say, is the FDA’s failure to grant full vaccine approval, despite strong approvals from FDA officials.)
The warrants, in short, may be the most significant Covid response the country has yet to really try.
“A real anger that is brewing”
The mandates are obviously controversial. Many Republican officials oppose it. Ohio passed a law restricting school terms and Florida banned companies from requiring consumers to prove vaccination. Given this opposition, vaccine mandates will never be national.
But they could become much more mainstream – and the Delta variant has led more politicians, business leaders, and other executives to consider them. Several weeks ago, Covid seemed to be receding on its own: vaccinations were increasing and cases were plunging. But the combination of persistent vaccine skepticism and the contagiousness of Delta has caused an increase in cases.
Many Americans now reflect with annoyance on the possibility that a return to normal life will remain in months. The CDC is telling some people to put their masks back on. Companies, including Google, are delaying plans to get workers back to the office in the fall. Parents are concerned that schools will not fully reopen this fall, which would almost certainly cause more academic and psychological damage to children. Many parents also fear that children too young to be vaccinated will remain vulnerable to the “long Covid”.
The main cause of all of these problems, according to many experts, is the large proportion of unvaccinated Americans – about a third of those who qualify. The greatest costs of their refusal fall directly on them: they risk their lives. But those vaccinated also pay a price, through restrictions on daily living – and the increased risk of future epidemics, which could produce vaccine-resistant variants.
“I think there is a real anger brewing among vaccinated people that doesn’t get a lot of attention,” wrote David Nir, the political director of the Daily Kos. My colleague Roni Caryn Rabin reported, “Many vaccinated Americans lose patience with vaccines. Kay Ivey, Republican Governor of Alabama, was more severe: “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated.
Vaccination warrants are the political manifestation of this frustration. They effectively tell the unvaccinated that their decision hurts others and that society has an interest in pushing them to change. They can refuse, but they will pay the price – by losing access to a job, college campus, or other shared experiences where they could infect others.
Ezra Klein, Opinion of the Times: “The conventional wisdom is that there is an argument, as yet undisclosed and possibly undiscovered, that will change the mind of the approximately 30 percent of American adults who have not received at least one dose. probably not … Polio and measles were deadly, but their virtual elimination required vaccination mandates.
German Lopez, Vox: “Warrants should be dealt with as a last resort: cities and states that, for example, haven’t tried cash incentives for immunization might try this first. (Starting tomorrow, New York City will donate $ 100 to many residents who will receive their first dose.)
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “No government should order the general public to be vaccinated except in the most extreme health hazard. The question is different for private employers, who should be able to set their own rules in the workplace … It’s a weird libertarian streak that doesn’t like government orders to individuals, but then says employers private individuals should not be free to choose.
And more on Covid
Fully vaccinated people from the United States and most of Europe will be allowed to enter England and Scotland without quarantine from Monday.
Senator Mitch McConnell plans to buy radio ads promoting vaccines in Kentucky.
Federal pandemic aid will reduce the number of Americans living in poverty by a record 45% this year, according to a study.
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A skilled diver and spearfishing champion, Valerie Taylor was half the Australian couple whose shark images featured in the climax of the 1975 blockbuster “Jaws.”
This is only one chapter in his life. There was also the time when she fled to the sea by anchoring her ribbons of hair to the coral until a boat found her. Or the time she taught Mick Jagger to scuba dive. Now 85, she is the subject of a National Geographic documentary, “Playing With Sharks”, on Disney +.
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