WHY the COVID-19 pandemic will most likely be with us for years is vividly demonstrated by the following well-publicized news: “A federal appeals court has called President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing requirements for private businesses ‘fatally flawed’ and ‘staggeringly overbroad,’ arguing that the requirements likely exceed the authority of the federal government and raise ‘serious constitutional concerns’…the requirements criticized as a one-size-fits-all sledgehammers.”
If the courts succeed in derailing the president’s plan, there will be more infections and more deaths in those sectors as a result of wanting to be fully “constitutional.”
That’s only one instance. There are governors/legislators/protestors against masking/social distancing early on and now against vaccine mandates because they are ignorant, spineless, and want to be politically correct in order not to lose votes. Their inaction, baseless statements, and the chaos that followed have resulted in the massive loss of precious human lives, the total death count as of last Tuesday morning, November 16 is at almost 5.12 million worldwide, with nearly 784,000 in the U.S., and about 45,800 in the Philippines. This is gross negligence and dereliction of duties on the part of the Biden administration, Congress, and the governors and other leaders against federal mandates. They looked the other way as people, children included, languished and died…and the toll from COVID-19 is still rising.
I am no lawyer, much less a constitutional expert, but to me, as a person and as a cardiac surgeon, it is most evident that the federal judge in this case was more concerned (and only considered) the constitutional technicality of the issues, rather than discern if President Biden’s “mandate” would save lives or kill more people. No discussion about the effects of the ultimate verdict on human lives, just “constitutional concerns” and correctness.
To me, saving lives, preventing deaths, or reducing loss of lives to the minimum should be the primary objective of any action, constitutional or not. We must uphold and protect our Constitution, yes, but when technicalities would cause misery and death of people, who the Constitution and our courts and government leaders are supposed to protect, the obvious just choice is to save people’s lives as primary, and the constitution’s propriety, secondary.
The Founding Fathers brilliantly crafted the masterpiece called the Constitution of the United States in 1787 with the main objective of protecting and safeguarding this great nation and its people, especially the marginalized, the weak, the infirm and the helpless from foreign and domestic threats, and even from their own selves.
And here we are today, 234 years later, using constitutional (wording) technicalities to justify going against the proper scientific protocol to end this deadly pandemic and allowing thousands more Americans to die…all in the name (an excuse) for exercising equality, civil liberties, individual rights, and the freedom to refuse.
The right thing
Scientifically, the proper and most effective way to manage a pandemic, which is much like a world war, is a universal, unified, federal strategy mandating quarantine, isolation, masking, social distancing on the first day the pandemic is declared, and a national mandate for vaccination for everyone, the very day the vaccine is available. This is the epidemiologic and evidence-based protocol to follow strictly, one that is medically accepted worldwide. All science, no politics. This is the right thing to do. If this strict medical protocol had been mandated, we could have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths and we would be having a normal Christmas this year. The way our government leaders have mishandled the pandemic and the abuse of the constitutional freedom to choose by more than 50 million people who refuse the vaccines, we should brace ourselves for an extended misery and greater loss of human lives for a few more years before we see the end of COVID-19, if at all.
It is unrealistic for people to expect a perfect 100 percent protection from masking, social distancing, and now the vaccines for COVID-19 that are 100 percent safe. There is no such thing. Even aspirin, introduced to us in 1899, though used since antiquity, is not 100 percent safe or effective. The bulletproof vests used by SWAT teams and other law enforcement agents are not 100 percent safe, but they have saved countless of lives. While the vaccines for COVID-19 are not 100 percent risk-free, the risk of an adverse side-effect is a tiny fraction of 1 percent, while the risk of dying from COVID is one hundred to a thousand times greater. It is a no-brainer that getting the vaccine is wiser, more prudent, and a lot safer because COVID-19 is a serious killer. So far, there have been almost 7.5 billion vaccines administered around the world. The vaccines have long been proven safe and effective even before its first millionth mark.
COVID-19 is a world war
Medically speaking, President Biden’s requirement and mandates, if not thwarted by the courts, could save lives among the people in those businesses involved. The only question is why the president is limiting it only to that small segment of society in as pandemic that is akin to a world war? He should have declared federal mandates on all matters related to our global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the entire nation and all 332.9 million Americans. Anything short will allow the virus to live on, replicate, and mutate to deadlier strains and continue to kill more people.
Of course, people have the right to choose not to get the vaccine. They even have the right to hurt or kill themselves, but they do not have the right to infect and take with them and kill other Americans who also have their rights – the right to be careful and get the vaccines, the right to remain healthy and live. Any choice we make that hurts other people is unjust and criminal, certainly not the kind of freedom of choice the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they ensured those civil liberties for us. All our personal rights come with grave responsibilities and obligations to society and to our fellowmen. The 50 million who refuse the vaccine on constitutional grounds should seriously reconsider in order to keep our nation as one people united in our war against COVID-19. Divided, we cannot win. And justice, to be true, must be served with Solomonic wisdom and compassion.
Politics, as shown by the way this pandemic has been managed, is indeed a deadlier killer than COVID-19.
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.
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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com and philipSchua.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.