And Mayor Bowser and the gormless Council (horrible band name, by the way) need to step up and do this.
Before we get to what the mandates should be, let’s go through why they are needed. First, the ‘happy thoughts’ approach isn’t working. According to the daily releases from the CDC, the percentage of fully vaccinated people is increasing by about 0.1% daily, and has been for weeks. Only 55 percent of all D.C. residents are fully vaccinated, so, at the current pace, it would take over nine months to reach 85% coverage. We simply do not have that time. Even adjusting for the ‘missing vaccinees’ in D.C.’s vaccination data, no ward has reached 85% fully vaccinated, though some wards are doing far worse than others. That is, every ward is failing.
It is also worth noting that D.C. doesn’t have a ‘MAGA problem’–the bozos who will smash their own dicks with a hammer to own the libs. In fact, polling suggests D.C. residents, along with Massachusetts residents, are the most pro-mandate people in the country. This finding is supported by the reality of 75% of eighteen and older D.C. residents being partially or fully vaccinated (i.e., potential voters)–there is broad support here for this. Unfortunately, that’s still not enough people.
There’s also an ethical issue here. The vaccines are, compared to just about everything other medical treatment, incredibly safe, with millions administered world-wide. They are highly effective, though not 100%*, at preventing transmission, illness, and death. There is no ‘other side.’ The other side is the infectious disease equivalent of creationism. It is demanding that NASA, when planning launches, seriously consider the notion that stars are glitter stuck to a very large ceiling. It is ignorant nonsense, nonsense that will harm others, and regardless of its origins (again, D.C. isn’t a MAGA stronghold), we are under no obligation, after months of attempted persuasion to take them seriously. Moreover, there are no facts that will change most of their minds, and certainly not in enough time (again, 0.1% per day isn’t enough).
This is why we need mandates. If people wish to separate themselves from their responsibility to their community, well, that’s a two-way street: their ability to engage in communal activities should be limited.
Which brings us to what those mandates should look like. If I were running the zoo, here’s what I would do:
- All city employees, unless they have a valid medical reason or can perform the entirety of their duties remotely, need to be vaccinated. This includes UDC.
- All non-essential ‘point of entry’ activities must require proof of vaccination. While some places might be easier to enforce than others (gyms would be pretty easy, clubs not so much), this will ‘encourage’ people, especially in the under 40 cohorts, who just aren’t getting vaccinated.
- Since I mentioned the social compact, every D.C. worker who was or would have been eligible for early access to a life-saving vaccine now must be vaccinated.
- All students twelve and older should be vaccinated, otherwise they will have remote learning.
- All parents and guardians of students must be vaccinated, otherwise they will have remote learning. This one is so obvious (and yet somehow Mayor Bowser is doing it completely wrong…). Kids will give it to each other, bring it home, and infect their parents.
For some of these, there will have to be a grace period or a requirement of ‘being in flight’ by a certain date.
But we need to do this, and it’s worth remembering our elected betters that these are politically popular in D.C. (if not Wor-Shing-Tun).
*And no one in medicine, public health, or microbiology ever said they would be–thanks Thinky Thought Leaders for fucking that up!