St. Louis Reinstates Mask Mandate, State AG Has Other Plans

 As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “There you go again.”

But Reagan was admonishing then-President Jimmy Carter during a 1980 presidential debate; Today, the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County deserve to be admonished.

Why, you ask? Because officials in these areas leave little room for personal discretion.

As concerns ramp up about the COVID-19 Delta variant, we’re witnessing the same mask mandates we’ve seen time and again in the past year take form, but, this time, there’s an additional factor added to the equation.

On Monday, the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County began reinforcing mask mandates in public indoor spaces for anyone over the age of 5, according to a news release from the St. Louis Department of Health.

One Missouri state official — Attorney General Eric Schmitt — isn’t too happy about the move.

In fact, he’s pledged to challenge it.

The mandate requires that all residents wear a mask in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status, with an exception for eating or drinking and for those who cannot wear one due to disabilities.

It draws no distinction between those who’ve received the highly-touted COVID vaccines and those who have not yet received or refuse to receive the jab, further decreasing the incentive to do so — especially in light of skepticism.

However, the Delta variant is all the rage in the news at the moment.

It’s inciting fear at all turns, begging people to ask a number of questions: If I’m vaccinated, can I contract the Delta variant? If I’ve been sick with COVID before, can I become sick from this variant as well? Is it more dangerous than other strains?

According to sources, the Delta variant is more transferable — by approximately 60 percent, according to Live Science — and more deadly.

Studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine to be 88 percent effective against the variant, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Moderna announced its vaccine is effective against the variant as well — although no specific percentages were given in its report.

It’s important to note that Moderna admitted its vaccine is less effective against the Delta variant than against other, previous variants, as expected.

A new study that has yet to be peer-reviewed suggested the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is far less effective against the Delta variant. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has a similar architecture to Johnson & Johnson, ranks far beneath the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with an approximately 33 percent efficacy rate.

And, to help answer the final question, can people who have natural antibodies from a previous COVID infection still be infected with the Delta variant?

Well, according to Healthline, it’s not overly clear, but some experts advise that people who previously had COVID should receive at least one booster.

Others still advise full vaccination.

“Natural immunity does, in many cases, protect people from reinfection. And when they do occur, they tend to be mild,” one point on the webpage said.

“But immunity varies significantly from person to person, so while many people mount a strong, durable immune response that protects them against delta after a previous infection, some may generate a weak immune response and remain at risk.”

It’s a roundabout way to come back to why this St. Louis mask mandate is taking shape in the vaccine era.

The Delta variant is now taking the U.S. by storm, so what should we do to combat it?

“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis, said, according to the city’s news release.

Missouri’s percentage of fully vaccinated residents sits at 41 percent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is eight percent below the national average, and the mandate reinstallment attempts to curb a potential surge in Delta cases.

Currently, most areas maintain a protocol which advises the unvaccinated to wear masks and allows the fully vaccinated to go about their business mask-free, but the jump in Delta-related cases is seizing many with fear — not only St. Louis, but also in Los Angeles, where similar mandates have been reinstated.

Still, these measures are not without criticism from those who say they violate updated CDC guidelines — and from Schmitt, of course.

“The citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County are not subjects — they are free people,” Schmitt tweeted. “As their Attorney General I’ll be filing suit Monday to stop this insanity.”

After announcing his plans, Schmitt received opposition from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, who labeled the suit as “frivolous.”

The citizens of St. Louis are free people, and they reserve just as much right as anyone else to assess their individual risks — whether they should mask up or take any other precautions.

At this point, we’ve dealt with the virus long enough to understand what’s at stake and what we can do to protect ourselves.

We know how to assess our risks or where to look if we aren’t certain.

It’s time to move past mandated practices and allow people to exercise their own discretion.

We cannot be victims of fear forever — nor can we remain victims of control.

St. Louis Reinstates Mask Mandate, State AG Has Other Plans St. Louis Reinstates Mask Mandate, State AG Has Other Plans Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:45 Rating: 5

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