DENVER — Even though businesses can require their workers to get the vaccine, most aren't, leaning instead on the honor system.
They can also insist that whoever enters their business is vaccinated or masked, but there's no blood test or lie detector.
You are trusted to wear a mask if you haven't gotten your shot.
The honor system.
But the honor system seems to be lacking... honor.
I know lots of people who haven't been vaccinated and who are not wearing a mask in the places they are supposed to.
Mind your own business, you may say. It's their decision and has nothing to do with you.
Yeah, but it is my business. It's about public health, and as a member of the public, I have skin in this game.
Truth be told, it's not the public health I'm most worried about. It's my daughter's health. She's too young to get a vaccine. There's not one yet for those under 12.
Let me address a couple of things you may be thinking.
First: Shannon, relax. Kids don't get sick from this virus a lot.
You're right. Young children are infected at much lower rates than others, and the odds of little kids getting really sick or dying are much lower than everybody else. The odds are low, but they're not zero. Kids do get sick, are getting sick and they're dying.
In the U.S. for the week ending July 29, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports children make up 19% of weekly COVID-19 cases and between 1.3 and 3.5% of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
And now, the other thing you may be thinking, or screaming at the screen: Wearing a mask and getting a shot is about personal choice! Personal freedom!
I know, just like wearing a seat belt. Here's the thing, though, if you crash your car into a moose and you're not wearing a seat belt, my daughter isn't going to get hurt.
The more unvaccinated people there are, the more virus there is. And the more unvaccinated people there are not wearing masks, the more the virus spreads and the greater the chance my daughter or your son or your grandchild can get sick.
I know you've heard this pitch before, but here it goes again: Do it for the greater good. Put community over self.
But if you're a self-over-community person, then realize this: This is now, for all intents and purposes, a pandemic just for you, the unvaccinated.
Ninety-seven percent of all COVID-19 hospitalizations right now are people who have not been vaccinated.
Maybe you're wary about getting a shot that has only Emergency Use Authoritization and you're waiting for full FDA approval. Then, I am happy to report, an FDA official said that is likely to happen within two months.
Our children cannot get a vaccine yet. You can. It's free, it works really well and it's easy to get. And it will reduce the chance children will get sick.
A global pandemic that has killed 4 million people feels like a lot of weight to be carried by the honor system.
The honor system barely works when you leave the "please take just one" sign on your porch Halloween candy bucket.
But since this is what we have, how about we have some honor and honor the honor system.
Wear the mask where you're supposed to if you're unvaccinated.
Or, you know, get the shot.
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