Speaking to the remaining millions of unvaccinated Americans, President Joe Biden on Thursday sounded like an exasperated grandfather when he said, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, ‘If only I had gotten vaccinated.’ ‘If only.’ It’s a tragedy. Please don’t let it become yours.”
The president turned on the power of his office to force about two-thirds of US workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, mandating that every company employing more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing. He also used his executive power to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers, federal contractors, and most federal employees. Refusal to comply will be met with disciplinary measures.
In other words, President Biden has finally done (in my personal opinion) what he should have done back in January: save the country from a raging pandemic and hundreds of thousands more dead over misinformation and political shenanigans. As of today, whether they like it or not, some 80 million Americans who would rather ingest horse de-wormers than receive a vaccine shot will be forced to comply with society’s need to stay alive. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue – the vaccines were produced largely due to former President Donald Trump’s effort, and Trump has publicly endorsed vaccination a number of times.
The US is averaging more than 150,000 new Corona cases a day. About 1,500 deaths are being reported each day, more than at any time since March. Some 100,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized nationwide, and hospitalizations are at record levels in Southern states. Florida is reporting more deaths per day than at any other point since the start of the pandemic in February 2020. Tennessee and South Carolina now lead the country in recent cases per capita.
The president has become frustrated not only by the spread of the Delta wave but also with the economic slowdown it introduced. According to the NY Times, real-time gauges of restaurant visits, airline travel, and other services show consumers are again avoiding face-to-face businesses. The death surge in August has shot down consumer confidence and is threatening businesses in the fall. As a result, the president’s popularity has plummeted well below the 50% mark – among Democrats.
President Biden told the nation on Thursday:
The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing. Nearly three-quarters of the eligible have gotten at least one shot, but one quarter has not gotten any. That’s nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated. And in a country as large as ours, that’s 25 percent minority. That 25 percent can cause a lot of damage — and they are.
The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals, are overrunning the emergency rooms and intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack, or pancreatitis, or cancer.
… I want to emphasize that the vaccines provide very strong protection from severe illness from COVID-19. I know there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation. But the world’s leading scientists confirm that if you are fully vaccinated, your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is very low.
In fact, based on available data from the summer, only one out of every 160,000 fully vaccinated Americans was hospitalized for COVID per day.
These are the facts.
So here’s where we stand: The path ahead, even with the Delta variant, is not nearly as bad as last winter. But what makes it incredibly more frustrating is that we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans –supported by a distinct minority of elected officials — are keeping us from turning the corner. These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die.
We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal.
As your President, I’m announcing tonight a new plan to require more Americans to be vaccinated, to combat those blocking public health.
Are we going to be treated to images of anti-vaxers being hauled, kicking and screaming, with police officers rolling up their sleeves and nurses sticking them with the shot? Let’s hope not.
For an alternative view, Ben Shapiro weighs in: