OUR VIEW: Vaccines? Mask rules? A bewildering week in the Illinois COVID story

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Herald & Review editorial board

When masks were required indoors, infection numbers were down. Beds in intensive care units were open. Death numbers fell.

Vaccines were OK’d and administered. People waited in line to get the vaccinations, sometimes overnight. We took pride in our success. America and its ingenuity conquered another foe.

Vaccination numbers fell short of early indicators and our early optimism. As was the case with COVID-19 itself, the vaccination became less about health and more about the binary politics into which we’ve descended.

Amid Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s pronouncement reinstating indoor masking, we maintain our optimism that vaccination can win the battle for us – we just need to convince the reluctant to look at the overwhelming success of the vaccine so far. The approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration builds the legitimacy of that preventative measure.

The FDA approval comes together with a number of factors — more pressure from workplaces including mandates from some, various incentives, more time having passed with limited vaccination reactions – that could make a real difference.

A popular online derogatory word for those who have willingly been vaccinated is “sheep.” In this case, count us among those who have no problem being shepherded. Research into battling coronaviruses has been ongoing for decades. That was a head start in the rush to battle this pandemic

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Yet there remain people screamingly opposed to the vaccine. The battles and circles and contortions into which rabid anti-vaxxers twist themselves are mind-numbing. They’ve become like that friend who held out from one social media platform or the other and then was defined by that refusal. They became the Person Who Hated Twitter.

Giving in can be regarded as an admission they were wrong. No retreat, no surrender.

Will FDA approval increase the vaccination rate? It would only make sense. But we’ve been overly optimistic earlier in this process as well.

How will Pritzker’s renewed indoor mask mandate be received? Businesses who felt handcuffed before will feel the same now, only more so, given the comeback they thought they might be seeing. Some of us are bound to double- or triple-down on behavior already discouraged, as if daring others to try to make them wear a mask.

If the result is an increase in the vaccination percentage and an increase in the number of hospital beds available and a decrease in the number of infections and deaths, perhaps the restrictions are the best that can be done right now.

What’s most maddening about this summer’s frustrations is that none of this had to happen.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced new safety protocols that also include a renewed statewide mandate for masks to be worn indoors.


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Region: Decatur,Feeds,City: Decatur

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August 27, 2021 at 11:29PM

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