New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the implementation of a citywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate last week, making New York the first city in the nation to impose such a standard.
The New York Times reports:
“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” [de Blasio] said at a news conference. “It’s time.”
“This is going to be a requirement,” he added. “The only way to patronize these establishments is if you are vaccinated, at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work, they will need at least one dose,” he said, holding up a single finger.
Previously, de Blasio told MSNBC:
“We’ve got to shake people at this point and say, ‘Come on now.’ We tried voluntary. We could not have been more kind and compassionate. Free testing, everywhere you turn, incentives, friendly, warm embrace. The voluntary phase is over.”
Given the fact that the legality of mandatory vaccination is dubious at best, this is authoritarian on its face. Its legal basis comes largely on the heels of an early twentieth-century Supreme Court decision – one which makes vague, sweeping declarations of questionable coherence which inexplicably proclaim public health to be a police power delegated to the states.
Regardless, de Blasio’s comments, as they often are, are a punchier version of the rhetoric churned out by the mainstream left. He is often fond of saying the quiet part out loud, and his rationalization of New York’s vaccine crackdown is no exception.
For the past several months, the message from the left has been simple: get vaccinated, or you’re a homicidal simpleton; after all, vaccine skeptics are the sole actors prolonging the pandemic. Furthermore, they state without evidence that vaccine skepticism must inherently be a right-wing phenomenon – after all, that does seem befitting of us nefarious Republicans.
Data, however, suggests vaccine hesitancy to be somewhat prevalent in communities of color, which often skew leftward demographically. This is not to deny that vaccine hesitancy is an issue on the right – however, it is foolish to insinuate that vaccine hesitancy only exists among people whose politics Democrats dislike.
This, of course, runs in stark contrast to Democrats’ rhetoric during the twilight months of the Trump era, when questioning the legitimacy of a vaccine churned out by the administration was apparently the politically hip thing to do. A particularly egregious example of this came courtesy of last year’s vice presidential debate, during which Kamala Harris stated before an audience of 58 million that she wouldn’t take a vaccine promoted by the Trump administration.
The same vaccines that were being developed when Harris said that in October are now being sold to the public as being infallibly safe and effective (and exponentially more often than not, they are), and instrumental in any prospective return to normalcy. In fact, Democrats have routinely touted a return to normalcy as feasible only following a mass vaccination campaign. “Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do” quickly found itself as an insurgent mantra of the Democratic Party.
At the same time, they’ve shifted to making the false claim that breakthrough infections from the emerging Delta variant are epidemic, with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky insinuating the likelihood of a breakthrough infection to be as high as ten percent.
As such, the CDC reversed their mask guidance for the vaccinated last month, again recommending that the vaccinated wear masks amid a dearth of evidence of widespread breakthrough infections.
Given how far off base that figure is from the actual statistics on breakthrough infections seen thus far, the idea that vaccines are largely ineffective against emerging variants, and that mandates enacted on the whims of blue-state governors are again our most viable safeguards, is the worst possible narrative that the Biden administration could be running with right now.
To suggest that inconsistent messaging on behalf of Democrats and public health experts with regard to vaccination may have played a role in the ensuing hesitancy would be a monumental understatement.
Furthermore, to insist for months that vaccination is a prerequisite for a return to normalcy, before backtracking and reinstating mask mandates – the same mandates whose rescission was the pretense on which you sold mass vaccination in the first place – before blaming Republicans for any subsequent political blowback, is baffling in its political incoherency.
But come to think of it, for Democrats, it seems incoherency is par for the course when it comes to COVID.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.