Below is a Facebook post from one of our attorneys Michael Sussman. It expresses his opinion of where we find ourselves as it relates to COVID and medical mandates. I take issue with some of his presentation of the facts, but not many. In particular I want to point to how Sweden is experiencing a near-zero seven day average of deaths from COVID and that country had a completely different strategy than America for addressing the spread of SARS CoV-2. To me it appears Martin Kulldorff of Harvard was right, and we should be looking to him for guidance forward instead of Fauci.
Nevertheless we are where we are in America today, and I believe Sussman’s words and the thrust of his thesis here are correct. I have been criticized by my own supporters for having sympathy for the mother of one of my students who is immunocompromised and isn’t getting vaccinated because she is scared of the adverse events. Additionally she is scared to send her child to school in fear the child will bring SARS CoV-2 into the home which may kill this woman. If it wasn’t for a universal mask mandate in NYC Schools she may not send her disabled child to school. I am sympathetic to this woman and the decisions she is trying to navigate despite my own personal views on the necessity of mask wearing.
I have been criticized for leading TEACHERS FOR CHOICE to have a nuanced opinion when it comes to mask mandates at school. However I take such time and attention to listen to arguments from “the other side” because we need to find middle ground with those we share our communities and school buildings with. Democracy isn’t easy, and it is IMPOSSIBLE when you won’t listen to and engage those you disagree with. – mk
Michael Sussman Facebook post from on or about August 19th
The vaccination debate is becoming murkier in my view. And, I fear the divisions in our people will widen as more information circulates. I think these are some of the material facts:
1. The overwhelming number of serious cases of COVID 19 are being experienced by those who are not vaccinated. This is both reported anecdotally and reflected in the aggregate amassed data.
2. However, the extant vaccinations are not very effective at protecting even vaccinated people from the Delta variant and it appears likely that other variants will develop [Delta was not the first to develop].
3. Those who are vaccinated seem to suffer less serious medical consequences after infection, but this may also be changing and recent published studies highlight this issue.
4. CDC is now recommending boosters eight months after last vaccination because of the relative inefficacy of the existing vaccinations and the apparent need to substantially augment them.
5. More and more employers and universities are mandating vaccines. Yesterday, one of our county’s four major hospitals advised employees they would be required to vaccinate or be suspended if not vaccinated by September 30. Earlier this week, one justice of the Supreme Court denied a stay sought by Indiana University students objecting to mandatory vaccinations. In one of my own cases, a NY City Supreme Court Judge characterized as “absurd” arguments made against a random testing regime in NY City schools which seemed to me to accomplish next to nothing.
6. School districts cannot mandate student vaccinations as there is no vaccination for children under 12 years of age. Mask mandates are not quite as controversial as vaccination mandates, but close. So, we have a great many complications. Some who fervently favor mandatory vaccinations oversell their efficacy and treat them as panaceas, ignoring the emerging studies which question their efficacy. These studies are very scary because they may entail a return to cloistered lives, something no one wants. Some who fervently oppose vaccination mandates entirely diminish the role of vaccines in fighting the virus and still go so far as to doubt the existence of the virus. I view these positions as problematic though I do believe that individual choice with regard to medical procedures is a critical value and that mandating compliance with experimental vaccinations which are in their infancy is of dubious constitutional virtue.
Few, if any, politicians can handle the nuances and sensibilities the issues raise and many seek to demagogue the issues one way or the other. This does not assist. As with most issues, we have too little problem solving, too much polarization, too little discussion among people who start with differing perspectives and too much resignation to our fractured polity. I appeal to all, I am sure quite fruitlessly, to try to appreciate the “other sides” perspective, to desist from name calling, to make decisions which, to the extent possible, respect and value others in our midst. I see very tough days ahead in some measure because of our failed politics which, when superimposed on a persistent fast spreading virus, is a recipe for calamity.