The terrible politics of COVID-19

Zachary Carpenter

9/8/2021

Opinion

Over the last year and a half the entire world has faced a global pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in over 100 years. There have been over 4.4 million people killed worldwide and over 200 million more infected with the virus. In the United States alone, 650,000 people have died; a number similar to the number of people killed during America’s bloodiest war, the Civil War.

So why, if we know that a deadly virus is spreading, are we still debating the most very basic steps we can take to fight it?

Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to bring an end to pandemics, and as a result, some cities and states have considered making them mandatory to enter public places. The mandate issued by certain municipalities has created an uproar from Republicans and praise from Democrats.

All politics aside, is there not a known way out of the pandemic readily available to everyone? Are vaccines not accessible to everyone over the age of 12?

The basic questions ignored by so many on all sides of the debate are truly dumbfounding. Republican Governors in states such as Texas and Florida have moved to make sure that no corporation can require their employees to be vaccinated and to ensure that no one is required to wear a mask.

Not only do such moves endanger the lives of those who are under 12 years old and not authorized to receive the vaccine yet, but it also blatantly ignores the science behind the spread of COVID-19.

Mask mandates were issued in part because of the science, presented by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), showing that they can prevent upwards of 70% of water droplets from spreading. However, politicians quickly seized on the order to argue that the wearing of masks is not about protecting those around you but about the government trying to close off our liberties.

I would consider myself to be a libertarian-minded person and very much put into question the thought process of many of those who believe the government is trying to limit their liberties.

For starters, the most basic function of a government is to seek out the interests of its people and protect those interests.

Generally, I would consider dying of COVID-19 to not be in the best interest of anyone and would consider the government trying to look out for us as a positive good.

After all, it was the government who paid the vaccine developers to develop vaccines specifically for distribution to the American public. The question still remains though, why is the American public itself so hesitant to “take the jab?”

On Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full authorization to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine fulfilling one of the most cited reasons for not taking the vaccines among the unvaccinated. Yet the United States has close to 70 million people who even after the authorization refuse to get vaccinated.

As for the governors who are enacting laws requiring that businesses not mandate masks or vaccination, does the authoritarian attitude taken by them put into question the very liberties they purport to be protecting. If they really cared about individual liberties, they would not enact laws restricting corporations in any way with regard to COVID-19.

Rather than the government dictating what we can and cannot do, we the consumer should be able to choose. If enough people band together in support of one corporation that favors mask and vaccination requirements over one that does not, we can enact change from the bottom up. That is the ultimate goal in an even freer society than the one we currently have.

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