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COVID leadership can’t include doubt

It is with great despair that we read once again our COVID rate is rapidly rising in Chautauqua County.

COVID, an illness which we now have a vaccine for, is raging mainly due to the political swing some have given it. Politics has no place in public health Yet the political opinions are overshaddowing the science. Even our own county executive publicly stated he will not enforce a mask mandate, even when scientific studies clearly show their effectiveness. “The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high.” (National Academy of Sciences)

I have watched Legislature meetings with many folks speaking out against all “restrictions” claiming it is an infringement on their “rights.” Not sure how many of these folks even bothered to look up mandated vaccinations in our Country.

Starting with no other than George Washington himself, when a smallpox epidemic began to take more lives than the war, “Both the Continental Congress and George Washington realized that preventing smallpox was of paramount importance, and the Continental Congress authorized Washington to order compulsory variation for every recruit. As a result, by September 1776, the Northern Army was free of smallpox” Imagine that, Father of our great Nation, mandating vaccinations.

Smallpox continued to rage for the next century all across our country. States began to mandate vaccinations as a means to control the disease. Of course then, as now, people resisted the mandates, claiming similar arguments you can hear at our legislation meetings today. One case made its way all the way to the Supreme Court: Jacobson vs Massachusetts in this case the U.S. The Supreme Court upheld the authority of states to pass and enforce compulsory vaccination laws.

The court’s decision articulated the view that the freedom of the individual must sometimes be subordinated to the common welfare and subjected to the police power of the state. The state and local laws that mandate vaccinations have been credited with having played a substantial role in improvements in immunization coverage and disease reduction.

I am old enough to recall the Polio epidemic and the gratefulness our parents had when a vaccine was finally found that would prevent this horrible illness. We can all thank the Rotary Clubs for helping to get this vaccination worldwide, so that now polio is almost completely eradicated from our world.

Recently the Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to state mandate for vaccinations for health care workers. It was the second time the Supreme Court has refused to hear such cases. Leaving in effect the ruling in the Jacobson case, which clearly states a State has a right to mandate vaccinations (and I would interject masks) for the good of public health.

Vaccinations can prevent a serious COVID infection, if you even get it at all. Yet week after week we hear these folks flocked unmasked to our County Legislature meetings, claiming their rights. I am so distrubed by these ignorant folks, yes I call them ignorant for not understanding the science..or simply refusing to go by the scientific conclusions. They are also ignorant in understanding our Country and how we are based on uniting for the good of the whole.

Our elected leaders are missing their time to truly lead. They need to be enforcing mandates, at least in word if not action. They need to lead by example, clearly showing that mandates are not only legal in our Country but have been at our foundation. We are to be one nation, helping each other. If wearing a mask or getting vaccinated saves even one life is it not worth it? I pose this question directly to those who are fighting so hard for their “right” to go without a mask or get vaccinated.

Wear a Mask..Get Vaccinated

And tell our elected officials to step up and show real leadership.

Judi Lutz Woods is a Fredonia resident.

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