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Here’s a better approach than lockdowns

Good golly, we’re at “extreme risk” again. Really? Everyone we know is vaccinated, and therefore pretty darn safe. No one I see out and about seems particularly freaked.

What the powers that be fail to tell us is how many of the “cases,” hospitalizations and deaths are of unvaccinated individuals. All of the recently reported deaths are of older people with underlying conditions — individuals for whom the vaccine has been readily available for months!

According to data from the CDC, if you’re vaccinated for COVID, your chances of being infected by the virus are .008% and your chances of dying or winding up in the hospital are next to zero. The risk is infinitesimal compared to risks that we daily run by getting in the car and driving to the grocery store. For the vaccinated (once two weeks have passed since the second shot) the COVID risk is about as great as being hit by lightning.

These results tell us that the resolution of the COVID crisis is now at hand, and yet, unbelievably, not grasped by politicians and bureaucrats, whose brains remain in lockdown mode. The solution is simple: A widely publicized, two-tiered approach that addresses: (1) vaccinated persons, and (2) those persons who choose not to be vaccinated. All of this assumes and requires that vaccines are available to all who want them, which may differ by location but should soon be universal.

I greatly respect those who choose not to be vaccinated — it is their right. But, if individuals choose not to be vaccinated and subsequently pass on — well, that’s their issue! Most importantly, their probably avoidable demise cannot be the basis for restricting the activities of persons who have chosen to be vaccinated.

Hospital capacity is the frequent excuse by politicians for society-wide lockdown, but with the availability of vaccines there is no reason to coddle people who show up at the hospital with COVID-like symptoms. At admission, they (or their immediate caregivers on their behalf) need to present their vaccination certificate. No certificate? Then they go to the back of the line, behind everyone else seeking admission to the hospital, and are admitted to the extent that facilities are adequate. Not adequate? Then no admission; sorry, you die at home. With this approach, vaccine refuseniks will not clog up the hospitals. We can’t have these tails wagging our dogs.

And we need a separate statistical trail for the outcomes of the vaccinated and unvaccinated — we can’t let the unvaccinated infected, sick and dying create a scary numbers trail that justifies drastic measures that are unnecessary and burdensome for the rest of society.

The approach outlined above will be salutary in two respects: First, as an enunciated policy, it encourages vaccine refuseniks to get their shots. Second, and most important, it provides categorically that refuseniks, who constitute the bulk of infections, deaths and hospitalizations, will not hold the rest of society hostage when what we desperately need is to fully open up!

This approach should also satisfy the “rugged individualists” among us, who have charted their own course and chosen to live (or die) with their choice. What’s the basis for their complaint?

The message is simple: “Unvaccinated? Then proceed at your own risk!”

Let’s try this. We need to move on, don’t you think? Or would you prefer another round of Kate Brown lockdowns?

Bob Wetmore lives in Ashland.