Mandates Are About Political Control, Not Health

Mandates Are About Political Control, Not Health
(1000 Words/Shutterstock)
Jenin Younes

For two years, the political class’s ineptitude has been on full display.

School shutdowns, business closures, and endless mask mandates have all proven to be relatively ineffective at stemming the spread of COVID-19 (never mind reducing hospitalizations and deaths). Yet, politicians have continued instituting these harmful and useless measures in a desperate attempt to be perceived as doing something.

But over the past month or so, it has become inescapable that sheer incompetence and ignorance can no longer be the sole explanation for two years of bungled policies. Rather, the craven mindset of many of our leaders in both of our political parties (albeit primarily Democrats) is manifest. They're using our bodies to score cheap political points, impervious to the injury that they're inflicting upon us.

Worst of all are the vaccine mandates, which come in countless forms. Universities, including public ones, are requiring faculty, staff, and students to vaccinate against COVID-19 in order to remain employed or enrolled. Many universities, including Washington and Lee University in Virginia; Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; and CUNY and SUNY in New York, are now requiring vaccine boosters.

As an attorney who has filed a number of lawsuits challenging vaccine mandates coming from both public university employers and the federal government, I'm contacted every day by myriad students, faculty, and employees at these universities. Many are now double-vaccinated and COVID-19 recovered. A significant number of them have had recent bouts with COVID-19, which is unsurprising given that the Omicron coronavirus variant has swept across much of the nation in a very brief time period. Yet, for students to continue their education at the universities they may have already invested significant time, emotional energy, and resources into attending, they're being coerced into getting a useless medical procedure that many legitimately fear could harm them.

Consider the data on myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), especially for men younger than age 30. In a cynical attempt to push their blanket vaccine mandate agenda, agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration have dismissed these concerns, claiming that myocarditis is extremely rare and almost always resolves quickly. However, cardiologist Anish Koka says that this isn't an accurate assessment of either the risk or the severity of the condition.

Multiple independent data sets actually suggest that COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis occurs at rates that are much higher than the CDC estimates and may in fact be higher than the rates of COVID-related complications in healthy young men. Moreover, as Koka has said, the notion that myocarditis can be described as “minor” is absurd. Not only does one suffer chest pain and leak cardiac enzymes from the damaged heart muscle, but a third of patients are found to have fibrosis and scarring in the heart that has an uncertain long-term prognosis.
Valid concerns about the health risk of repeated COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are also arising. EU regulators have just rung an alarm bell, noting that evidence indicates that such a practice could actually deplete one’s immune system long-term, leading to all sorts of health problems, including greater susceptibility to COVID-19. In short, for many—especially young COVID-19-recovered people—the risks of COVID-19 vaccination, especially a second dose or a booster shot, might outweigh any benefit.
Furthermore, there's no societal-wide justification for these mandates. Many epidemiologists and experts in vaccine safety believe that these particular products didn't stop transmission from the start. They unquestionably don't stop the transmission of new variants of the virus, such as Omicron. Even CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who's relentlessly pursuing a blanket vaccine mandate approach, has admitted as much.

Where no coherent claim can be made that vaccination is for the “greater good,” to remove personal choice from the equation by premising employment upon taking a medically unnecessary and possibly injurious vaccine is unconscionable.

Yet, instead of revisiting their vaccine requirements, some employers are doubling down, and mayors and governors are taking a page out of their books. Democratic strongholds across the country are implementing passport programs, meaning that one must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms.

Essentially, participation in public life isn't possible in these blue bastions unless one gets vaccinated and is willing to show proof of it or take the legal and reputational risk of using a counterfeit vaccination card. Although New York’s proof of vaccination requirement has been a colossal failure, other blue cities such as Washington, Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis are emulating the program. Politicians such as former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser appear to believe that “getting people vaccinated,” the justification for these requirements, is an end in and of itself, regardless of whether it does anything to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, not to mention improve public health overall.

Mask mandates fare no better. For two years, study after study has confirmed what couldn't escape the objective, casual observer: that community masking with cloth and surgical masks does nothing to slow the spread of COVID-19, despite the attempts of politicians and compromised scientists to twist the results of this research to claim otherwise.

Rather than admit the obvious policy failures, those who have been insisting upon masking are making the ludicrous claim that the Omicron variant somehow circumvents these barriers while Delta and original COVID didn't. And contrary to the contentions of these “experts,” who are somehow still considered experts despite being wrong time after time, masking is harmful, especially for children.

The commonsense points many of us have been making—that children need to see facial expressions and be free to make such expressions themselves in order to develop socially, cognitively, and linguistically—are now being borne out by research. Masking is harmful to adults as well. Reading facial expressions is one way in which we connect with each other, and it's important for our psychological well-being.

While the average member of the Zoom class doesn't have to spend the majority of the day in a mask, most members of the working class—servers, bartenders, and uber drivers, for example—do. Masking for hours each day causes pain behind the ears and reduces oxygen intake. It's also hard to escape the dehumanization attached to servers and bartenders having their faces covered, while the patrons remain mask-free from the moment they sit down.

Yet every time cases rise in a blue jurisdiction, one can be relatively certain that the mayor or governor will weaponize this pointless measure in order to appear as though they're doing something.

In 2022, mask and vaccine mandates—and many other COVID-19 mitigation measures such as arbitrary restrictions on gathering size and social distancing—have nothing to do with our well-being and everything to do with the Bowsers of the world scoring political points, which becomes yet more obvious when these same politicians don't follow their own rules.

Mandates that serve no legitimate public health purpose and are instituted merely to punish the noncompliant should have no place in a civilized or democratic society. It's time that Americans wake up and realize that they're being used as pawns in a game of politics.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jenin Younes is litigation counsel at New Civil Liberties Alliance.
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