Mandate Vaccinations, Not Masks

Aaron E. Carroll, chief health officer for Indiana University, in a guest column for The New York Times:

Many may read the C.D.C.’s continued focus on masking and distancing as an acknowledgment that the vaccines don’t work well enough. Leaning heavily on masking and distancing is what we did when we didn’t have vaccinations. Today, such recommendations are less likely to succeed because they are more likely to be followed by those already primed to listen — the vaccinated — and to be fought and ignored by those who aren’t.

Hospitalizations and deaths are rising in some areas not because someone didn’t wear a mask at the ballgame. They’re occurring because too many people are not immunized.

This is why I’ve advocated vaccine mandates. I don’t understand how we can mandate wearing masks but not getting vaccinations.

Here’s German Lopez, making the same case 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.

Asking the vaccinated to wear masks to protect the voluntarily unvaccinated is not going to work. The backlash is growing.

Thursday, 29 July 2021