Mandate vaccinations, not masks

People should be required to be vaccinated, and show proof of vaccination, to use indoor, public spaces: Work outside the home, shop, go to restaurants, etc.

Exemption should be made for people with legitimate medical reasons they can’t be vaccinated. Those people should wear masks, and practice social distancing.

Anti-vaxxers can just stay home and let responsible adults get on with their lives.

Covid Is Now a Crisis for the Unvaccinated, by Aaron E. Carroll, chief health officer for Indiana University, writing at the NY Times:

… to suggest that Covid-19 is an escalating emergency in the United States is not quite right. The truth is that the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are experiencing two very different pandemics right now. If we don’t confront that, the nation can’t address either appropriately.

People in areas with high vaccination rates are doing fine. Unvaccinated areas are still in the worst of the pandemic. Hospitals are filling up again, people are going on ventilators and dying.

Even the Delta variant is not a major threat to everyone in the United States. It is largely a threat to the unvaccinated.

Over 97% of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

Even in areas of high vaccination rates, some people can’t be vaccinated, and the vaccine doesn’t work as well for everyone. The best thing we can do for these people is to get everyone around them immunized.

Mandate the vaccine, not masks, by German Lopez at Vox:

A year ago, requiring masks as cases spiked would have been an obviously smart decision. Mask mandates work, and for most of 2020, they were among the best methods we had to stop the spread of Covid-19. But masks were never meant to be the long-term solution; they were a stopgap until the US and the rest of the world could stamp out epidemics through vaccination.

Now those vaccines are here. And the changed circumstances of summer 2021 call for new approaches. Any entity thinking about a mask requirement — from private businesses to local, state, and federal governments — should consider mandating something else first: vaccination.

Vaccine mandates have been shown to work in France—one of the more vaccine-skeptical countries in the West—-and Israel.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Also:

David Frum: Vaccinated America Has Had Enough [The Atlantic]

And Ezra Klein is skeptical vaccine mandates will fly, and he says we’ve done pretty much everything we can to convince people to get the vaccine: What if the Unvaccinated Can’t Be Persuaded? [NY Times]

“I’m sorry, but it’s too late”

An Alabama doctor says dying Covid patients beg her for the vaccine before being intubated. She tells them, “I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”—Dennis Pillion at AL.com

Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated patient, she said, just needed a little oxygen and is expected to fully recover. Some of the others are dying.

“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”…

In the United States, COVID is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, according to the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Alabama, state officials report 94% of COVID hospital patients and 96% of Alabamians who have died of COVID since April were not fully vaccinated.

“A few days later when I call time of death,” continued Cobia on Facebook, “I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.”

“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”

“You kind of go into it thinking, ‘Okay, I’m not going to feel bad for this person, because they make their own choice,’” Cobia said. “But then you actually see them, you see them face to face, and it really changes your whole perspective, because they’re still just a person that thinks that they made the best decision that they could with the information that they have, and all the misinformation that’s out there.

“And now all you really see is their fear and their regret. And even though I may walk into the room thinking, ‘Okay, this is your fault, you did this to yourself,’ when I leave the room, I just see a person that’s really suffering, and that is so regretful for the choice that they made.”

Cobia says the situation in Alabama now reminds her of October-November 2020, just before the peak of coronavirus cases and deaths. She worries about kids returning to school with no mask mandates, no vaccination. “So it feels like impending doom, basically.”

For people who are hesitant to receive the vaccine, Cobia recommends speaking to their primary care physician about their concerns, just as she did.

“I try to be very non-judgmental when I’m getting a new COVID patient that’s unvaccinated, but I really just started asking them, ‘Why haven’t you gotten the vaccine?’ And I’ll just ask it point blank, in the least judgmental way possible,” she said. “And most of them, they’re very honest, they give me answers. ‘I talked to this person, I saw this thing on Facebook, I got this email, I saw this on the news,’ you know, these are all the reasons that I didn’t get vaccinated.

“And the one question that I always ask them is, did you make an appointment with your primary care doctor and ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should receive the vaccine? And so far, nobody has answered yes to that question.”