COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes are partly attributable to the staff bringing – and transmitting – the virus to vulnerable patients. That is why the nursing home staff was at the front of the line when vaccines were introduced; and why, when many didn’t rush to sign up, the federal government mandated that they be vaccinated. How did that work out for the staff and patients?
Is it too early to address what went wrong when the COVID vaccines were rolled out? This is not about the “first rough draft of history." Instead, it's a more dispassionate, high-altitude view that allows us to assess this public health moment through two different critical theory lenses: complex systems and scaling.
New York City, not exactly the sanest place in the galaxy, has done little to change its reputation by maintaining its private-sector employer vaccine mandate for sports teams, even though it is scientifically laughable. New York athletes are banned from playing home games unless they are vaccinated but allowed to play road games. And players who can't play are allowed to sit there and watch. Welcome to Crazyville.
It seems that COVID-19 is, finally and hopefully, waning from the American scene. Before we face another wave or a new threat, it might make sense to review some of the legal fallout, notably the interplay between freedom of religion, the obligation of the state to protect public health, and the prevalence of changing attitudes championing solidarity versus those advocating autonomy.
“[From] mid-July through mid-November, 2021, more than one million individuals with COVID-19 were admitted to hospitals, 156,382 of them died of COVID-19 complications. Most of these hospital admissions and patient deaths were preventable through… vaccines.”  But vaccine resistance continues to be strong, persuasion, as I’ve written, is ineffective on a large enough scale, and those opposing mandates speak loudly. The situation is likely to continue. If vaccine-resistant intransigence is entrenched, will mandates work?
As of January 25, 2022, some 40% of Americans  have not been fully vaccinated.  This, notwithstanding valiant efforts for over a year at persuading vaccine uptake. The impacts are now apparent. The US death toll  is averaging 2500 cases a day – and rising, at least for now. Because of widespread vaccine resistance, the President has attempted to mandate vaccines. In addition to those refusing vaccines, we now have a separate group of individuals who oppose vaccine mandates.
Four months after President Biden announced his innovative plan to compel vaccination, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on its validity. Biden’s plan had three parts; the Fifth Circuit Court struck them all down.
Ah, for the old times, when our biggest fear was seasonal flu. Roughly 80% of healthcare workers get vaccinated, more the docs and nurses, less the aides. Where it is required, the vaccination rate rises to 90%.  Those not getting vaccinated are doing harm, as a new study shows.