Are you one of the 211 million responsible Americans who have gotten vaccinated and boosted? Then you may be justified in your anger at the 15% of American adults who have chosen not to vaccinate, thereby needlessly prolonging a crisis that has marooned us in our homes, caused years of lost learning and a loneliness epidemic in our children, and led to the outbreak of Covid variants that endlessly threaten the lives of our families and friends and economic growth for the country.
An article in The Hill last year tried to quantify the economic impact of the selfish decision of these millions of unvaccinated Americans –
Increases in COVID-19 contagion trigger increases in social distancing, lockdown restrictions and supply disruptions that put a damper on economic activity. Indeed, employment growth has already slowed – from 1.1 million new jobs in July to 235,000 in August – and as we show below, the delta variant stands to depress GDP growth as well.
Termed the “Great American Sickout” in early January 2022 almost 9 million Americans said they were not working because they had COVID-19 or were caring for someone with the virus — triple the number from a month ago. The surge in sick workers is impacting industries ranging from hospitals to airlines, adding to the nation's labor crunch, according to a CBS News report.
And the finger of blame can be clearly pointed at the GOP whose members have abandoned their duty to care for their constituents and pushed an anti-science agenda purely for political gain. Tapping into anti-government fears that have been carefully stoked for the last 30 years, GOP representatives at both state and federal levels have encourage their supporters to defy vaccine mandates in the name of “freedom,” whipping them into a frenzy of feeling that translates to political engagement without caring about the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.
The breathtaking irresponsibility of the GOP over the coronavirus makes a mockery of the conservative platform. Pro-life? Hardly. Most of the lives lost after the availability of the vaccines have been unvaccinated Republicans. Better for the economy? Absolutely not. Apart from their crony capitalism, the anti-vax stance of GOP representatives has directly led to the economic fallout from COVID.
But the only way we can send the message that this shameless pandering for power is unacceptable is by shunning the Republican party for the foreseeable future. Only being in the political wilderness can force the conservative movement to do the serious self-examination that is needed to return it to a pro-science, pro-American norm that can govern responsibly.