States are implementing mandates in response to the coronavirus’ Delta variant, but the rapidly decreasing death toll shows that such policies lack justification.
CDC data shows the seven-day average of deaths per day has fallen to 296 nationwide. Deaths in New York City, once an epicenter of the pandemic, have fallen to a seven-day average of three per day, according to the New York Times. In April 2020, by comparison, deaths in New York City were sitting at a stunning seven-day average of 829 per day.
Deaths in California’s Los Angeles County currently stand at a seven-day average of nine, as compared to the January 2021 seven-day average of 241 deaths a day.
Counties in several states have also ignored the low death count, implementing county-specific mandates that hearken back to the height of the pandemic. Counties including Sacramento County in California and Broward County in Florida have mask mandates to various degrees, with Broward Mayor Steve Geller saying that he was “very scared and . . . also very angry.”
According to Geller, “Ninety nine percent or so of people dying are unvaccinated.” The New York Times reports that no one has died in Broward County of COVID-19 since June 8, 2021.
The numbers beg the question: what is the justification for current mandates, given the nebulousness of the identified threat?
Republicans have widely criticized the new measures implemented in response to the Delta variant. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate on the House side of the U.S. Capitol, calling it “anti-science”: “she [Pelosi] can kiss my mask.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas had a simple message for Americans facing Delta variant-induced mask mandates: “Don’t comply. Businesses. Schools. Restaurants. No one should comply.”
The White House seems bent on combating noncompliance, with President Biden announcing requirements for civilian federal workers to disclose their vaccination status. Unvaccinated federal employees will be subject to travel restrictions and regular testing. Outside the White House, Washington D.C. has implemented a mask mandate for all residents over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status.
However, not all states are following along. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced his intent to fight any attempts to mandate masks in his state, calling the reimplemented restrictions “Faucian dystopia.”
Additionally, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed legislation that would prevent any government agencies from requiring masks or vaccines. “[T]he path forward relies on personal responsibility,” said Abbott.
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