Commentary: Nope, I Won’t Mask up Again

Last March, I followed the CDC’s advice and got fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I did so more out of a sense of civic duty than any actual fear that I might contract the virus. It was just an easy and scientifically sound way to help slow its spread. Naturally, I was delighted when the CDC finally announced that fully vaccinated people could safely participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing inconvenient and clinically useless face masks. Now, the CDC has reversed itself and issued new guidance telling 163.6 million fully vaccinated Americans to put our masks back on. Sorry, no sale.

First, the CDC published no data supporting its bizarre reversal. The Washington Post reports: “In the text of the updated masking guidance, the agency merely cited ‘CDC COVID-19 Response Team, unpublished data, 2021.’” Moreover, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is struggling to produce a plausible explanation. She claimed without evidence on ABC News that “new science” has emerged showing that fully vaccinated people should be masking.

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Virginia College Will Segregate Students with Vaccination Badges

Citing a tip from a student, Young America’s Foundation Monday morning reported that Emory & Henry College in Virginia will require students to wear special lanyards designating their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

“After listening to voices desiring a safe return to a more normal campus environment and using the date available to us regarding COVID-19 vaccination rates, the campus has decided that having a visible showing those who are vaccinated is the best route for our campus,” Dean of Students Tracey Wright said in an email to students. “Therefore, we are providing all who are fully vaccinated with a special lanyard that must be worn on campus.” 

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More Americans Are Living Their Lives, Leaving Masks at Home, Survey Shows

Group of people sitting at public restaurant, eating.

A majority of Americans said for the first time in over a year that returning to their “normal” pre-pandemic lives did not pose a moderate or large health risk, an Axios/Ipsos survey shows.

The survey, released Tuesday, showed just 43% of Americans saying that returning to “normal” posed either a large or moderate risk to their health. It also shows that majorities of Americans have begun to enjoy several aspects of pre-pandemic life: 54% of Americans have eaten at a restaurant, 59% have visited family or friends and 31% have made summer plans – all in the past week alone.

The return to normalcy and the mental health benefits associated with it directly corresponds with the amount of Americans who say they have been vaccinated. Almost two-thirds of respondents say that they have received at least one shot, and 18% say that their emotional well-being has improved in the past week, which the survey notes is an all-time high during the pandemic.

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A Majority of Americans Support ‘Vaccine Passports’ for Some Activities, Poll Finds

Photo of two passports in person's hand

A majority of Americans support requiring proof of vaccinations when traveling on planes and attending events with large crowds, a Gallup poll released Friday shows.

The survey found that 57% of Americans supported requiring proof of vaccination on airplanes and that 55% supported requiring proof for events like concerts, shows and live sports. Just 43% and 45% of Americans said they were opposed, respectively.

Majorities of Americans, however, rejected “vaccine passports” for dining at restaurants, going to work and staying in a hotel. Just 40%, 45% and 44% of Americans supported requiring proof of vaccination for each activity.

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Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order Banning Vaccine Passports

Passport

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday banning government-issued “vaccine passports” statewide.

Abbott said that vaccinations against COVID-19 cannot be government-mandated, and that residents’ choice to not receive one should not prevent them from going about their lives.

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Commentary: Just Say No to Vaccine Passports

We all desperately want normal lives again. And I’m not talking about the finnicky “new normal” that accommodates Aunt Karen’s irrational fear of leaving her house. I’m talking about “normal normal,” where people crowd into concert halls with standing room only, restaurants operate crowded tables at 120 percent capacity, and cruise ship buffets shove food and alcohol down my throat like it’s Fat Tuesday, all day, every day. Ah … don’t you miss 2019? I sure do.

It was only a matter of time before some in our society turned the national COVID experiment into an excuse to say, “Papers, please.” That’s right — the so-called vaccine passport is now emerging in the United States. It’s an app that is advertised as a way to help people do the things they miss doing from pre-pandemic times. Want to feel completely safe in your favorite store, and surround yourself with others who, like you, have rolled up their sleeve and gotten the vaccine? There’s an app for that. Just scan your QR code and enter feeling sanctimoniously sanitized.

Last week, New York became the first state to offer such a vaccine verification app. The state-sanctioned app, called Excelsior Pass, claims to let participants “Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Well that sounds fun to me! Sign me up!

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DeSantis to Take Executive Action Against ‘Vaccine Passports’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed that he would issue an executive order forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports” to show digital or physical proof of vaccination against COVID-19, The Hill reports.

At a news conference, the Florida governor announced he would introduce “an executive function, emergency function” against vaccine passports and requested the Republican state legislature draft a bill forbidding such passports.

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