At long last, the White House is acknowledging that American individualism is prolonging the pandemic.
For many people, the turning point was in mid-July: the moment the delta variant started to surge out of control and “hot vax summer” became the summer of hastily canceled plans, harsh recriminations, and fears for autumn. But experts I’ve spoken to said the turning point came earlier: May 13. That was the day Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Americans that if they were vaccinated, they could begin returning to their normal lives.
While many in the public understandably celebrated the news that they could unmask indoors and cease social distancing, public health experts were alarmed: Once mask recommendations were lifted, they warned, people wouldn’t want to go back. And individualizing health—“Your health is in your hands,” Walensky tweeted while essentially telling the vaccinated to do whatever they liked—could be dangerous in a pandemic where collective action is paramount. Read more at The New Republic.
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