We thought we’d seen the worst of this pandemic. SARS-COV2. After several months of the “novel” (nCoV), first discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the pestiferous Delta strain, detected in December 2020 in India. Soon after that, the world started to see a decline in infections and mortality cases. At the very instance of a reprive where some air of regularity was looming, then a sudden inexplicable spike in the global infected cases from the same ineffaceable mutating virus. This time it is the Omicron. The B.1.1.529 variant.
We are told that the Omicron is likely to spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2. And all evidence shows it has become the rapidly dominant strain.
Covid-19 has been lingering for almost two years now like an unwanted guest who has refused to go. Its effect has torpedoed lives, ruined businesses, and snuffed too many. To date, the global confirmed cumulative cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), have eclipsed 274 million, including 5.3 million deaths.
Predictably, the United States, just as in everything else, is cozily monopolizing the front row seat, with a recorded number of cases hovering around 51,274,973 and confirmed deaths around 810,164 according to CNN Covid-19 global tracking.
Although, the headlines are screaming that we should all run for our lives. Blaring that the Omicron is about to wreck our Christmas and New Year funfair, reminding us of December 2020; howbeit, I believe we will beat the Omicron just as we did Delta.
Notwithstanding my sanguine view of our dim prospect, I am persuaded that our government bears the responsibility for allowing this virus to remain this long.
It is generally agreed that government has no power to end diseases. However, it is the duty of the government to not only intervene but competently mitigate the spread, especially during a public health emergency.
While the U.S. continues to be number one in coronavirus infections and deaths, substantially due to the clumsiness and hedging of our leaders, it is a fact that they’ve failed to wield the power they possess in this critical time. Their ineptitude stems from capitulating to pressure from anti-vaxxers and coronavirus denials. In doing so, they hopelessly botched our recovery from this pandemic and unnecessarily prolonged our suffering. We must call them out on it.
Here is why.
When the virus was first detected in the U.S., back in February 2020, with no medical cure or prevention at the time, various restrictive measures were introduced, all in an attempt to contain the spread. From mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing rules to bans on international travels into the country. Although people find these measures uncomfortable and highly disruptive, many were willing to tolerate them if they would stop coronavirus and mitigate its effect.
Nine months into the nation’s restrictive laws, vaccines capable of preventing severe illness and death were developed and made available. One would expect that mere prudence requires that the government immediately mandate vaccination just as they ordered mask-wearing and social distancing. Surprisingly, and in a preconcerted blunder, our wimpy leaders did not. Instead, they continue to make a bungling attempt to catch the virus as if the disease is obedient to government directives.
Since November 2020, when all three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, were assented by the FDA for public jabbing, federal, state, and local government continued to hedge instead of making coronavirus vaccination mandatory.
Now, one year into the vaccine’s approval and a booster widely available, they continue to balk at their responsibility and tap dance around this malignant disease. And what was the government’s hopeless defense? Borrowing words From the grab bags of fringe elements, coronavirus denials, and anti-vaxxers.
According to these loony science antagonists, such a move will be unethical because a mandate infringes on personal liberties and violates religious freedom. They said.
Imagine the absurdity.
Their assertion would have been laughable if our situation wasn’t deadly serious; Where was individual liberty when government mandated face covering? Where was religious freedom when worship places around the country and other indoor gatherings were banned?
When government formulates public policies around the views of small fringe elements, they do the rest of us a disservice.
It is such conflicting, contradictory, and inconsistent policy that fuels the spread of covid-19.
Plus, their position is fallacious and not supported by the law.
To illustrate, this is not the first time our society has had to deal with a public health crisis influenced by contagious diseases pernicious as the coronavirus. And when mandates are issued, some trifling zealots always cry foul, citing religious freedom and personal liberties. And in such times, the police power of the state in emergencies had survived most constitutional wrestle when it was challenged.
In 1905, for example, the court was faced with this very issue and made a stern ruling in Jacoby v. Commonwealth of Mass.; In this matter, the supreme court held that “When a public health emergency exists, governmental entities, including local authorities, have a recognized right to require vaccinations.” The court further explained that “individual liberty is not absolute and is subject to the police power of the state.” In other words, your right to personal freedom does not eclipse society’s interest. As a result, this state power must come to bear when one person’s individual or religious liberty risks harming the public. Society’s interest must supersede any personal or religious Liberty.
Accordingly, the state has a legal and moral obligation to disturb personal freedom by mandating vaccination when protecting the public interest. Except, of course, in the rare situation where a person may suffer contraindications from taking the vaccine.
Furthermore, the risk of one person imperiling the lives of the larger society, willfully or inadvertently, provides an ethical justification to limit the right of the unvaccinated so that they don’t pose a public peril.
Therefore, it is an objective postulation that the government mask mandate doesn’t go far enough. The recent spike in the number of infected bears this out. It is biased, not uniform, and ineffective because it doesn’t require vaccination.
If the United States is serious about curbing the spread of COVID-19, it will not only require face covering, social distancing, and other preventive measures; it should immediately mandate vaccination for all persons. And I am doubtless that the court will reward them for their effort if the matter ever gets to the Supreme Court.
This is the only practical and appropriate measure to stop this pandemic and restore the country to normal. Anything short of this is pussyfooting. And will assuredly ensure that this virulent disease’s destructive effect is prolonged more than necessary.
A stitch in time saves nine.