OUR VIEW: Join in fighting common enemy

The enemy isn’t Dr. Allison Berry or Dr. Anthony Fauci.

It isn’t Tucker Carlson or any of the others who argue against health mandates.

The enemy is a deadly virus.

It isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a conspiracy. It isn’t an excuse for anything else. None of us want it to be here, but however it came about, here it is. We have to deal with it.

We all need to be united right now behind one goal: to keep as many of us as possible alive and healthy.

After that, we can go back to the usual arguments.

But right now, we are all facing a common enemy.

Hospitals are bursting with patients. They are of all political persuasions and religions. Beliefs don’t matter. Anyone can get sick, even very sick, even die.

And even those who barely know they have the disease can pass it on to someone else who lacks their strong immune systems. It could be their grandmothers. It could be their children, or someone else’s child.

We all follow a social contract. We wear seat belts. We don’t smoke indoors in public places. We agree to laws that prohibit stealing, assault, murder.

This is part of the social contract.

We have a responsibility to the most vulnerable of our society, to our seniors and to our children. We have an obligation to our past, whose shoulders we stand upon, and to our future.

One of the most horrifying aspects of Friday’s protest at the Clallam County Courthouse was the number of children, some so young they were in baby carriers, who were brought to a large gathering of maskless, probably unvaccinated people.

Given the numbers of cases in Clallam County now, a crowd of 200 people statistically would mean some are infected with COVID-19 and those kids were exposed. Some will go to school and potentially expose other children.

It’s unconscionable.

COVID-19 is a disease that has killed more than 640,000 people in the United States alone — some 4.5 million worldwide.

And now it’s coming for our kids.

Increasing numbers of children are being hospitalized in states across the nation.

We just resumed in-person classes, all being very aware of the price children pay when they are separated from classmates and teachers — as well as the pressures and costs for their working parents.

But all children under the age of 12 are especially vulnerable. Vaccines for those 5 to 11 years old won’t be approved by the FDA until close to Christmas at the earliest.

In the meantime, if we keep our kids in school under these circumstances, they are protected only by face masks, social distancing and hygiene. Is that enough? Health officials think so. We hope so.

Dr. Berry’s decision to mandate proof of vaccination before seating a person to eat or drink indoors — a step taken by other health officers in other areas of the country, by the way — is the least draconian measure possible to enact, in the hope that it will protect our children and keep schools open.

It isn’t capacity restrictions. It isn’t lockdown. It’s saying you can’t share air without a mask indoors unless you have done what you can to protect others.

If you have doubts, then we agree that no one should have to take medicine without consent. But protecting the vaccinated from the unvaccinated is not an imposition. Unvaccinated people can still eat and drink. They just can’t do indoors publicly with those who are trying to stay safe.

Many vaccinated people have been staying out of public places as much as possible because of concern about exposure. A vaccine against COVID-19 isn’t an impenetrable shield that always works — would that it were. It greatly increases the odds of survival and massively lowers the risk of infection but it doesn’t make it impossible.

So the mandate that came into effect on Saturday has been met with great relief by many.

Far from hurting business, we believe that the mandate will ensure businesses flourish.

Because there are more vaccinated people than unvaccinated on the North Olympic Peninsula.

And now we can go out.

_______

The Peninsula Daily News editorial board consists of Publisher Terry Ward and Executive Editor Leah Leach.

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