The latest wave of coronavirus in the United States, driven by the hyper-contagious variant Delta, has left vaccinated people bubbling over with unvaccinated ones for prolonging the pandemic and ensuring the return of restrictions rather than the carefree summer they had been given. promised.
“It’s almost like they don’t care about the rest of the world. They are selfish and egotistical, ”Alethea Reed, a 58-year-old health care administrator in the capital Washington, told AFP.
“As a person in a high risk category and a spouse in a very high risk category, it’s really frustrating,” said clinical social worker Anne Hamon, 64, adding she was upset. of not having been able to convince her. own brother to take the hit.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that vaccinated people start masking themselves again across much of the country this week, the mood was hardening among those who believed their lives were being disrupted by the choices of others.
Nationally, 60.2% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, well below the 85-90% epidemiologists now believe are necessary to contain the virus, despite the vaccines being readily available for months.
The average rate masks marked regional differences that are closely related to political preferences, with turnout lowest in the Southern Republican voting states and highest in the liberal Northeast.
Until recently, the conversation around vaccine laggards had focused on alleviating their concerns, making Covid vaccines as easy to obtain as possible and increasing demand through giveaways and raffles.
Now, however, there is “a shift from understanding to impatience, and incentives to consequences,” former Republican speechwriter David Frum, who recently wrote an article titled “L ‘Vaccinated America has had enough’ in The Atlantic.
Momentum is building for the mandates, with Facebook, Google and Netflix saying they’ll need plenty of staff to get the shots.
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that millions of federal employees across the country are expected to either get vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear masks, following similar measures taken by California and New York.
While there are many reasons for reluctance to vaccinate, ranging from anti-science opposition rooted in conspiracy theories to mistrust of the healthcare system resulting from historic racism, patience is running out.
“There comes a time when, when you see harmful action, the question of why it is happening becomes less important,” Frum said.
“Behind every incident of drunk driving, there is a personal crisis of addiction. But as sad as this story is, you have to get off the road. “
In a televised address, Biden acknowledged that “many of you in the majority are frustrated with the consequences of the minority’s failure to get vaccinated,” but vowed to do more to remedy the situation, including measures such as paid immunization leave.
– Exhausted health workers –
Traumatized doctors who thought hospitalized Covid cases were going to be a thing of the past are making emotional appeals.
In hard-hit Alabama, doctor Brytney Cobia wrote a recent viral Facebook post saying all but one of his patients were not vaccinated.
“One of the last things they do before they are intubated is begging me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them I’m sorry, but it’s too late, ”she said.
Matthew Heinz, a doctor in Tucson, Ariz., Told AFP that while cases in his hospital were well below their peak last year, “people seem to think it’s done and it isn’t. ‘not the case,’ and he continues to see a steady stream of younger patients.
Heinz, who is also a locally elected Democrat, said he and his colleagues were pushing to implement a warrant for Pima County government employees – creating an expected legal clash with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey who issued a ordinance prohibiting such measures.
There are, however, some signs of change among conservatives as well.
Fox News devotee Geraldo Rivera told viewers this week that the unvaccinated among them were “arrogant” and “selfish,” adding that opposition to vaccine passports was “a caveman’s thing. “.
A few days earlier, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey blasted vaccine refractors for lack of “common sense” and “let us down.”
Medical sociologist Richard Carpiano of the University of California at Riverside told AFP that the anger of the present moment is a reassuring sign that, despite all the attention drawn by vocal reluctance to vaccination, a majority of people “Believe in science and know what they need to do. “
“That kind of concern, or outrage, depending on how it’s channeled, can be effective for things like mobilizing elected officials,” he said.
© 2021 AFP