It was revealed Tuesday in a court filing by January 6 defendants, currently held in pretrial detention in the Washington DC jail, that unvaccinated inmates are being denied haircuts, shaves, time outdoors in the exercise yard and family visits due to their vaccination status. The filing claims that inmates are seeking a release to home confinement because of “despicable” DC Jail policies. About 90% of these inmates remain unvaccinated.
The jail’s policy exists to restrict the spread of the sars-cov-2 virus. Inmates who have been vaccinated can still be potential carriers of the virus. But those who are vaccinated carry the virus in much lower doses, if they carry it at all.
The unvaccinated inmates in general also tend to participate in high risk behaviours, such as flouting social distancing, ignoring the need for regular hand washing and refusing to wear masks when in close proximity to other inmates. These behaviours greatly increase their risk of catching and spreading the disease.
It is the overwhelming consensus of doctors and medical experts that the current crop of Covid vaccines are safe, effective and necessary to curtail the worldwide pandemic. Vaccine hesitancy is driving the resistance to getting vaccinated and increasing the likelihood that the pandemic will never end.
If ever there was a time when mandatory vaccinations were called for, this is it, and the Washington DC Jail would be an excellent place to start the experiment. It would demonstrate once and for all to the most ignorant among us, the insurrectionists, that not only will vaccines not kill them, vaccines will also keep them safe from getting and spreading the disease.
Meanwhile the vaccine hesitant continue to suffer the consequences of remaining unvaccinated. Many of them wind up in hospitals and on ventilators. Many of them have died from coronavirus.
Thanks to the Delta variant it is becoming increasingly the case that Covid-19 is no longer a disease of the elderly or the infirm. Healthy adults are now routinely contracting and dying from it. In some cases children are also coming down with the disease, and even some of those are dying. With each month that we delay vaccinating the entire population, we risk the incubation of an even deadlier strain.
There is no medical reason why coronavirus cannot mutate into another deadlier strain. The perfect storm of easy transmissibility, high mortality and a long dormancy period could turn this pandemic into the deadliest menace in human history. Each day we delay making vaccination mandatory is another day we risk that eventuality.
This argues for mandatory vaccinations, and the Washington DC Jail would be the perfect place to start. Much scrutiny would be placed on the DC inmates by Republicans in general and MAGATs in particular in such an event. Many would be disappointed at the inevitable outcome: that none of the inmates would die from the vaccine and the instances of coronavirus among them would be dramatically reduced. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.