Lawrence O Gostin/SciAm:
Vaccine Mandates Are Lawful, Effective and Based on Rock-Solid Science
Clear legal pathways exist to move the U.S. closer to herd immunity
Are these mandates lawful and ethical? The short answer is emphatically yes. And there is strong behavioral science evidence that mandates will be highly effective.
More than half of Americans support vaccine mandates for workplaces, classrooms and sporting events
The public is split about evenly, 51% to 49%, on whether requiring proof of vaccination for everyday activities is an acceptable way to increase the vaccination rate, or an unacceptable infringement on personal rights.
But there’s greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store.
Support for these mandates has risen across the board since April, growing 6 percentage points with regard to students, 8 points regarding office workers and event attendees, and 15 points regarding grocery shoppers.
Here’s who loves Biden’s vaccine mandate: The companies that have to enforce itCorporate America had been trying to navigate two competing pandemic realities: Companies are desperately trying to get back to business as usual, and mandating vaccines is among the best ways to accomplish that. But a labor shortage had tied their hands, as businesses have been worried that forcing people to get the shot would send some desperately needed employees and potential new hires packing.
Some state and local governments had imposed various vaccine mandates, others had outright banned them — and all the while vaccines have also become politically charged.
All that made universal corporate vaccine mandates difficult for employers. But Biden solved that problem for them this week.
Delta Air Lines’ $200 per month experiment for changing unvaccinated employees’ minds seems to be working
In the two weeks since Delta Air Lines announced a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated employees, 20% of Delta’s unvaccinated employees have already gotten the jab, Dr. Henry Ting, Delta’s chief health officer, said in an Infectious Disease Society of America briefing Thursday. “I think [that’s] a huge number in terms of shifting that group that’s most reluctant,” he said.
Of the airline’s 80,000 employees, 20,000 still remain unvaccinated, added Ting, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, and a professor emeritus at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.
What We Got Wrong in Afghanistan
Military officers like me thought we were building a capable Afghan security force. What did we get wrong? Plenty.
In 2014, by then stationed at the Pentagon, I watched in dismay as the Iraqi divisions I’d helped train collapsed in a matter of days when faced with the Islamic State. Today, as the Taliban seizes terrain across Afghanistan, including in what was my area of operations, I cannot help but stop and reflect on my role. What did my colleagues and I get wrong? Plenty.
From the very beginning, nearly two decades ago, the American military’s effort to advise and mentor Iraqi and Afghan forces was treated like a pickup game—informal, ad hoc, and absent of strategy. We patched together small teams of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, taught them some basic survival skills, and gave them an hour-long lesson in the local language before placing them with foreign units. We described them variously as MiTTs, BiTTs, SPTTs, AfPak Hands, OMLT, PRTs, VSO, AAB, SFAB, IAG, MNSTC-I, SFAATs—each new term a chapter in a book without a plot.
Why the Party of 9/11 Couldn’t Handle COVID-19
Republicans don’t know how to deal with this new kind of enemy.
When al-Qaida struck America on 9/11, Republicans completely reoriented our government to confront terrorism. The attack had been conceived abroad, but it had been seeded and executed in the United States. So Republicans instituted new measures to track and halt the spread of terrorism at home. They upgraded domestic surveillance and tightened screening at airports and other public places. President George W. Bush urged citizens to rise above their differences and focus on the good of the community.
Today, in the face of a far more deadly enemy, Republicans have done the opposite. They’ve belittled the coronavirus pandemic, scorned vigilance, defended reckless individualism, and obstructed efforts to protect the public. For more than a year, they stood by as President Donald Trump helped the virus kill Americans. He collaborated with China’s president to conceal the threat. He told Americans it was a hoax. He silenced officials who sought to warn the public. He opposed testing to track the virus. He ridiculed masks. He launched political attacks on Democratic governors who tried to save lives.
But Trump wasn’t alone. Officials in his White House—men who are now positioning themselves to advise and direct the next generation of Republican leaders—collaborated in the deadly work of playing down the virus, hiding its spread, and discouraging the use of masks. Republican governors rushed to reopen bars, restaurants, and other indoor gathering places, triggering a second wave of carnage in the summer of 2020. And even after a horrific third wave, Republican lawmakers and state officials are standing in the way of efforts to keep Americans safe.
California Politics: The recall electorate has changed
It’s this final nesting doll of voters, to complete the analogy, that has dramatically changed in the recall election facing Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Over the course of the last month, the governor and his supporters have expanded and reconfigured the likely electorate — adding so many more Democrats to the mix that Newsom has a real chance to handily beat back the effort to remove him from office…
The end result is the new poll finds 60.1% of likely voters oppose the recall and only 38.5% support it, a finding in line with other recent polls and suggesting the governor has the wind at his back in the home stretch.
By the way, the poll also offers a curious bit of political symmetry: Its results largely mirror the final tally in the 2018 governor’s race, when Newsom handily defeated Republican John Cox.
Newsom stakes his future on one simple argument: Fear a GOP governor
As he barnstorms the state, Newsom’s strategy to generate fear about a GOP takeover appears to be working to turn out Democratic voters, allowing the governor to avoid more complicated conversations about his own record.
With his governorship beset by record wildfires, poor marks on addressing homelessness and an 18-month struggle to contain virus transmission in the state, Newsom and his political advisors have sought to reframe the election as a vote on Republicans since before the recall even qualified for the ballot.