Thursday, September 23, 2021
Sept. 23, 2021

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Estrich: Might as well discard mask

Those of us who got vaccinated not the problem in pandemic

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I have packed up the masks.

There may be areas of the country where vaccines are hard to come by, where smart, sensible people are still waiting in lines to be protected.

Not here. Not in most cities in America. The administration this week announced renewed efforts to go door to door if that is what is necessary to reach its vaccination goals.

They’ve been going door to door now in Los Angeles for quite some time. You’d be hard-pressed to find too many pharmacies that aren’t offering the vaccine.

Around the world, people are dying for want of the vaccine.

But here, at home, let’s be frank: We have too many people who are stupid or lazy or entirely irresponsible.

They didn’t want to wear masks when they were essential to saving the lives of their loved ones.

They wouldn’t put a mask on for their parents and grandparents, who are hopefully vaccinated by now.

They won’t go around the corner to get a vaccine; they won’t even answer when the visiting nurses come to their door.

So why on earth would they put on a mask now, because I am?

I have defended the public health officials who braved enormous blowback, death threats, protests and even presidential condemnation for having the audacity to try to save lives by promoting mask-wearing.

They did so at a time when the evidence was clear that wearing masks and socially distancing were our most effective weapons against the virus.

Now they are beginning to sound a little bit ridiculous.

In Los Angeles, we are being encouraged to wear masks because of the highly contagious delta variant.

Which would make sense, except the same officials are quick to reassure us that our vaccines are effective against this delta variant.

So, why the alarm?

No good excuses to refuse vaccine

The problem is that if you’re not vaccinated and you’re not wearing a mask, then you may be more vulnerable to this variant than the old-fashioned COVID-19.

We who have been wearing masks and socially distancing, we who stood in line and said prayers of thanks when the vaccines finally became available, we are not the problem.

I’m not talking about those who are immunocompromised, for whom the vaccine poses additional risks or provides limited benefits. Trust me; those folks are wearing masks. They are double-masking, not to protect themselves against their vaccinated friends and relatives but because of all the people running around maskless who have not been vaccinated.

Why not?

Double shifts? The pharmacies are open 24/7.

Fear? Of what? There are no hidden chemicals in the vaccines. They have not been made in order to incapacitate any minorities. They do not cause impotence. They do not kill people. The stories of vaccine reactions are so few and far between that getting out of bed in the morning is far more dangerous.

There are excuses, but not good ones; reasons, but not sensible ones; explanations, but not justifications.

Most of us have done our best. We wore masks even when we didn’t need them, so long as vaccines were scarce. We wore masks even when those who most needed them refused to, just so as not to pass anything on to them. We were, most of us, very good to our neighbors, considerate of those less fortunate, patient even with the slow rollouts and the confusion and the rest.

But enough is enough. Independence Day has just passed. It is time for our country to move forward, and those who refuse to be vaccinated are standing in the way. And my wearing a mask won’t do anything to move them.

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