New Phase of the Pandemic

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New Phase of the Pandemic

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It was just announced that in all 50 states, anyone who wants to get the vaccine can get the vaccine (or at least anyone who is 16 years old or older). First of all, this is an amazing accomplishment: just a few months ago, COVID-19 was rapidly proliferating and all we had was the hope of a viable solution. Now, we have all the tools we need to essentially end the pandemic. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that the pandemic has reached a new phase. Now that vaccines are freely available, mandatory restrictions and protections -- social distancing, masking, etc. -- should in the next month or two be made voluntary. This is not just a matter of pandemic fatigue. Rather, the point is to incentivize those people who remain resistant to getting vaccinated to change their minds. If everyone is going to keep up these virus mitigation measures in perpetuity, many unvaccinated people may think there is no reason to change their behavior. More generally, we as a society should prioritize helping people who lack -- for whatever reason -- the means to help themselves. By this standard, the willfully unvaccinated -- who could simply go get the shot and therefore take the pressure off the rest of us -- should be closer to the bottom of our priority list. My guess is that the end of mandatory social distancing and masking, along with various entities -- restaurants, concert venues, universities, etc. -- requiring the vaccine will convince many vaccine hesitant people to change their minds.

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This item was submitted on April 19, 2021 by Derek Shloss using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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