Parsing Policy: CDC’S Mask Guidance Is A Mess; France Is Kicking Our Butts
Opinion writers discuss the covid-19 pandemic.
With Current Mask Guidance, We're No Longer All In This Together
Before there were magnificently effective Covid-19 vaccines, “We’re all in this together” was a crucial message for Americans. More than a message, it was a fundamental fact of the pandemic, even if we were too polarized to feel it or act on it. That message was shattered when the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, issued her bombshell announcement on May 13 that people who are vaccinated — but not those who aren’t — can safely ditch their masks in most indoor venues. (Peter M. Sandman, 7/16)
Pandemic Amnesia: Have We Forgotten What We Learned About PPE Shortages?
Although things have improved following the national vaccination program, we are still far from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. India is recovering from a massive surge; Israel, which seemed to be completely out of the water, just announced that face coverings again will be necessary while indoors, even for those fully vaccinated; and the Delta variant now accounts for half of all new U.S. cases. Yet, many state mask mandates are ending, a bipartisan group of senators wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the mask mandate for travelers, and some factories that manufacture masks are starting to shut down amid waning demand. With a year and a half of the pandemic behind us, are we forgetting some of the hard lessons we learned, such as problems that arose from shortages of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)? (Gad Allon, 7/15)
The Washington Post:
America Is About To Be Passed In Vaccinations By France, To Our Eternal Shame
Government officials have tried just about everything to get Americans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus: lotteries, cash, weed, pop stars. Yet the country not only failed to hit President Biden’s goal of 70 percent of adults receiving at least one dose by July 4 — denying us free beer — but we still haven’t hit that mark. As of writing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 68 percent of American adults have received one dose and 59 percent have been fully vaccinated. The implications are grim, as the number of cases nationally has begun rapidly climbing back up, doubling in the past week. So allow us to introduce another incentive: raw patriotism. (Philip Bump, 7/15)
What's Behind Macron's Bold Bet On A Covid Health Pass
France's president, Emmanuel Macron, is betting his political future on a nationwide Covid health pass. Approaching the launch of his campaign for re-election to a second five-year term next April, Macron went on nationwide television on the eve of France's national holiday of Bastille Day with a series of some of the world's most stringent anti-pandemic edicts -- an effort to stifle the surging Delta variant, he said, and fend off a fourth Covid wave. Seemingly prepared to take hard and politically polarizing choices, Macron announced Monday that all health care workers — in hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, even home-care nurses — must be fully inoculated against Covid or, quite simply, they won't be paid after September 15. (David A. Andelman, 7/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Stealing From Drug Makers Is No Way To Vaccinate The World
The innovative pharmaceutical industry confounded critics by delivering highly effective vaccines for a novel disease in less than a year. The vaccines are working against all known Covid-19 variants, although the newest variant features some unusual mutations. Resistant variants become more likely the longer the virus circulates. Wealthy nations are scrambling to vaccinate the world, but they need to pay for it instead of asking vaccine innovators for a free ride. Wealthy countries have both selfish and altruistic reasons to help vaccinate developing countries. Developed countries want to prevent vaccine-resistant strains from cropping up. And they want to prevent human suffering, illness and death. (Tomas J. Philipson and Joel Zinberg, 7/14)