Different Takes: Faith Leaders Important In Vaccine Push; Should We Model Japan’s Covid Regulations?
Opinion writers examine these covid issues.
Faith Communities Can Help Fight Vaccine Hesitancy Among Americans
With the colder weather, Americans are spending more time together indoors, including with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. Are they safe doing so? Currently, more than 30% of Americans remain completely unvaccinated, and COVID-19 cases are surging again in many states, increasing the risks of indoor gatherings even for those vaccinated. The looming threat of the new omicron variant makes it all the more important that we stamp out opposition to vaccination now. (Kraig Beyerlein, Jason Klocek and Grace Scartz, 11/30)
Los Angeles Times:
Japan Demands COVID Tests And Tracking. California, Not So Much. Which Is Right?
This long, strange season of the pandemic has made so many things impossible that it’s easy to forget the many things it’s made newly possible. For me, one of its unexpected gifts has been a round-the-clock immersion — and instruction — in the vast gap between the two continents I call home and the radical differences that still cut up our seemingly connected global neighborhood. Ten times during the age of COVID-19 I’ve flown across the Pacific between my longtime apartment in Japan and my mother’s house in Santa Barbara; on every occasion, over 21 months now, I’ve come away shocked all over again at how starkly the Far East and Far West inhabit different universes. (Pico Iyer, 11/30)
Omicron Is Here: A Lack Of COVID Vaccines Is Partly Why
The past few days have been awash with news of the emergence of the latest concerning variant of the virus behind COVID-19, which the World Health Organization has dubbed Omicron. Scientists detected this new variant through genomic surveillance in South Africa, but in a quickly evolving pandemic we still don’t know where it originated, and we still don’t know how important Omicron will be. (Michael Head, 11/30)
Omicron Should Push Retailers To Deploy Vaccine Mandates
The omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus may appear in the U.S. soon — if it’s not already here — but the country’s retailers still aren’t interested in doing the one thing that would protect millions of workers before it arrives: mandate vaccinations. It’s the holiday shopping season, of course. Retailers that depend on this stretch to ring up strong annual sales worry that mandates will turn off a big portion of the 665,000 temporary workers they have to hire to move goods. Those temps would supplement about 32 million other more permanent U.S. retail employees. As science and data have already taught us, unvaccinated workers are more vulnerable than vaccinated ones to Covid’s predations. By extension, customers are also safer being served by vaccinated workers. (Timothy L. O'Brien, 11/30)
The New York Times:
The Omicron Variant Is A Mystery. How Should We Prepare?
For every Greek-lettered incarnation of the coronavirus that alters the course of the pandemic, like the Delta variant, there is another that falls into epidemiological obscurity, and countless more that prove too insignificant to name. But scientists and world leaders have reacted more swiftly to the latest variant, Omicron, than to any other: Two days after South Africa reported it last week, the World Health Organization had labeled Omicron a “variant of concern,” the most serious category the agency uses for such tracking, and on Monday declared that it posed a “very high” risk to public health. A growing number of countries, including the United States, have barred foreign travelers from southern Africa, and a few have barred them from anywhere. (Spencer Bokat-Lindell, 11/30)