Imagine a future where you get into your vehicle and the active cabin monitoring feature kicks on. It’s automatically set to record. It tracks all your movements and behaviors behind the wheel between your starting point and your destination. At the end of the route, it sends a report to your phone and whatever agencies are charged with monitoring such things.
You park and walk the rest of the way to your destination, a restaurant. You head up to the greeter and present your clean bill of good driving so you can get permission to be taken to your table and eat.
If that sounds ridiculous, keep in mind that’s close to where we are now. We know the COVID-19 shots generally prevent worse outcomes. We also know they don’t prevent infection, any more than a seat belt prevents car crashes. And while in America we love passing laws and regulations pushing people to exhibit excessive caution, we don’t generally ask for proof that those measures were taken, except when municipalities need to raise a little additional income.
Stop the Spread? Not so Fast
Initially, we were promised that vaccines and mRNA treatments would stop the spread. That unfortunately hasn’t turned out to be the case.
But don’t take that from me, take it from everyone’s current favorite government agency, the Centers for Disease Control: “In contrast, the Delta variant seems to produce the same high amount of virus in both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like other variants, the amount of virus produced by Delta breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people also goes down faster than infections in unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people are likely infectious for less time than unvaccinated people.”
Given that delta is the dominant variant and that vaccinated people can still spread it, albeit reportedly for a shorter period of time, why are vaccine mandates being pushed?
In fact, we’ve all acknowledged, with gusto, that vaccines don’t stop the spread. Witness the renewed call for masks, not only from the CDC and experts on high, but also from the Biden administration.
In addition, the CDC has established itself as a front for all kinds of ridiculous ideas. No medium rare steak. We should all probably stop drinking. And if you’re cooking chitlins, a dish more commonly consumed by black people, for God’s sake don’t forget to watch your children. Good job on the paternalistic racism, CDC.
We Did Not Go for Mandates Before, so Why Now?
Well, the science isn’t on their side right now. Sure, the COVID injections offer better outcomes when a person gets ill with the Wu, particularly those at risk for negative outcomes. They’re a giant scientific breakthrough, even though they’re obviously not perfect yet.
They do not, however, provide total immunity; they do not prevent us from catching or spreading COVID. In fact, much like every other attempt we’ve made at stopping the virus, they stop short, unlike a different virus and vaccine, which we did not mandate for access to society: polio.
The first outbreak of polio occurred in 1894 in Vermont. It affected 132 people. In 1916, a larger outbreak hit New York City; 27,000 people contracted it, 6,000 died. From that point forward, polio became a part of life, primarily in the summer.
For those who don’t know, polio was horrendous. It mainly targeted children, sometimes causing deformities and paralysis. It also got adults. Franklin D. Roosevelt was in a wheelchair from a polio infection he had at 39.
The polio vaccine didn’t come along until the 1950s, with widespread vaccinations starting in 1955. By 1979, polio was eliminated from the United States. While there were public education campaigns, no one ever had to show proof of that vaccination to get into a restaurant or keep a job. Back then, the experts actually tried to inform people and treat them like adults rather than subjects. And unlike the COVID shots, polio vaccines actually prevented one from catching it.
Convince, Don’t Browbeat
Encouraging people to assess their own risks and make a corresponding decision is still the way to go. Encouraging seat belt use and discouraging people from drinking booze by the gallon are good ideas. Encouraging people to get a shot that basically reduces the risk of negative outcomes to zero is, as well. Encouragement, however, stops short of demanding people surrender control of their bodies in order to participate in society.
Life is risk, and we cannot change that fact by rule or regulation. Some are trying to prove that truth wrong, itching for demands that everyone accept a shot that will not end COVID, but only mitigate its risks.
But there is no stopping COVID, there is only living with it. Moreover, it’s not the government’s job to keep us alive. Instead of accepting that, we’re forging ahead with unjustifiable demands that people get a shot to protect not others, but themselves.
In the age of COVID, common sense and perspective have gone out the window. Catching an airborne virus is treated as a moral failing. In such a world, a future in which we have to show proof of safe driving to enter a restaurant or a gym may sound ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean the present is any less so.