Labor Day weekend is coming, and there's less rejoicing than there was over Memorial Day, when we briefly believed we were putting this pandemic behind us. We had friends over at our house — inside, even, without masks — and drank cocktails while trying to ignore our children. Everything was great until the COVID-19 Delta variant spread like wildfire among dullards who refused to get vaccinated.

So, here we are with hospitals at the point of collapse as the nation's coronavirus hot spot map looks redder than a GOP electoral fantasy. Experts call this a “pandemic of the unvaccinated" but the vaccinated are the only ones who seem aware that it exists.

Children under 12 aren't yet eligible for the vaccine, and unfortunately, less than half of children between the ages of 12 and 15 are vaccinated with at least one dose. We should've assumed that anti-vaxxer parents would deny their own children protection from COVID-19 in fear of them growing extra arms or whatever else they might've read on Facebook, but it's still depressing.


Because effects insist on following obvious causes, pediatric COVID-19 cases are increasing “exponentially," just as school starts again. States and counties with piddly ass vaccination rates unfortunately must deal with GOP governors who are actively trying to block mask mandates in classrooms, which would keep kids from dying.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention probably feels like it should do something, so at a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing yesterday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said unvaccinated Americans should stay home this weekend.

WALENSKY: We have actually articulated that people who are fully vaccinated and who are wearing masks can travel. Although, given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take these risks into their consideration as they think about traveling. First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling.

Jesus Christ, was that a long and winding road.

First and foremost, unvaccinated people aren't going to do shit. They already don't listen to Walensky's public health guidance, and they're not any more likely to take her advice as a travel agent. Unvaccinated people aren't just unreasonable about vaccines. They are also reflexively defiant and will probably plan an ill-fated cross country road trip just to spite the CDC.

Meanwhile, Walensky's vague, ridiculously circuitous recommendations for vaccinated Americans will have us hiding under our beds. Maybe we should just lock our doors, stay in our pajamas, and order takeout while watching Netflix. It's 2020 all over again! The living will envy the dead, and the vaccinated will envy the Bundy family from the Labor Day episodes of Married ... with Children.

There's this idea that if vaccinated people torture ourselves we'll somehow keep COVID-19 transmission rates down. We're all vaccinated Christs dying on the cross for the sins of the unvaccinated. The science doesn't actually bear this out, and I didn't just do my own research on YouTube. I'm reading Dr. Walensky's own words and roughly transmitting from ConfusoVision.

Dr. Walensky said that gatherings — among vaccinated relatives and friends — should take place outdoors. And everyone, including those who are vaccinated, should wear masks in public indoor settings.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings," she said.

The unvaccinated are the problem. That's why the hospitals are standing room only and our kids might end up attending school on their iPads again.

Here's an idea: The government and private businesses should impose and enforce vaccine mandates so that regular people don't have to check vaccine cards before serving someone a hot dog. Vaccination remains a contentious issue among families with MAGA members. The whole point of Labor Day is that we aren't working. We don't want to have to hassle kooky Aunt Phoebe about wearing a mask indoors or struggle to hide our resentment because she won't get vaccinated and free us from this long, national nightmare.


[CNN]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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