Premium

Don Lemon: It's time to start shaming the unvaccinated and leaving them behind

“Leave them behind” how? He’s talking about tens of millions of people.

In fact, they’re potentially an important voting bloc.

Why, they might even decide who the next president is:

The inclusion of anti-vaccine misinformation at a DeSantis press conference [here — ed.] marks a major departure from the stronger and more direct case he made for vaccines earlier in the year. The shift by the Republican governor — considered a leading contender for the 2024 presidential primary — coincides with more vocal anti-vaccine voices in the GOP, who went so far as to boo former President Donald Trump for telling people in Alabama to “take the vaccines.”…

DeSantis’ clashes with Biden and his libertarian approach to Covid has made him intensely popular among hardcore conservatives, putting the Florida governor in the top tier of potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates if Trump does not run…

Critics have also noted that the governor’s Twitter account hadn’t posted about “vaccines” or “vaccinations” since the spring, after he embarked on a monthslong drive to get shots for seniors when supplies were limited.

It’s all but certain that the next Republican presidential nominee will be what we might call anti-anti-anti-vax, formally pro-vaccination while devoting most of his or her rhetorical energy and official power to protecting the unvaccinated from pressure to get their shots. How does Don Lemon plan to “leave them behind” when they’re calling the tune to which ambitious GOP politicians dance? Watch, then read on:

There’s an insinuation in Lemon’s and Cuomo’s mockery that COVID waves are now a red-state problem. It’s true that COVID hit harder this summer in red states that tend to have lower vaccination rates, but DeSantis’s Florida has a higher percentage of its population fully vaccinated than deep blue Illinois does. The hard truth is that a high vaccination rate is no guarantee against a spike in cases or hospitalizations. Look no further than Oregon, whose Democratic governor ordered an *outdoor* mask mandate a few weeks ago but is currently dealing with a wave that looks like this:

Cases are about as high as they’ve ever been and hospitalizations are almost twice as high as they were during the winter wave despite the fact that Oregon is in the top quarter of U.S. states with 59 percent fully vaccinated. It’s so bad there right now that people who need surgery or cancer treatment are being pushed back by hospitals overrun by COVID patients, the great majority of whom are unvaccinated at a rate of five to one:

OHSU spokesperson Erik Robinson says the hospital, which is the state’s only academic medical center and serves patients from across the region, has had to postpone numerous surgeries and procedures in the wake of the delta surge. “Surgical postponements initially impacted patients who needed an overnight hospital stay, but more recently has impacted all outpatient surgeries and procedures,” Robinson wrote…

“With cancer treatment, sometimes there’s a window of opportunity where you can go in and potentially cure the patient,” Rizvi says. “If you wait too long, the cancer can spread. And that can affect prognosis and can make a potentially curable disease incurable.”…

“I’ve seen patients get ready to have their open-heart surgery that day. I’ve seen patients [who] have brain tumor with visual changes, or someone with lung cancer, and their procedures are canceled that day and they have to come back another day,” says Dr. Kent Dauterman, a cardiologist and co-director of the regional cardiac center in Medford, Ore. “You always hope they come back.”

A doctor at one hospital told NPR that as of early September there were 28 patients waiting for open heart surgery, 24 waiting for pacemakers, and 22 waiting for lung surgeries. In normal times there’s no wait.

It’s not just highly vaccinated U.S. states that are besieged by Delta, though. Everyone knows what’s going on in Israel but even Singapore hasn’t been able to dodge a surge:

Hopefully we’ll reach a point of herd immunity where big spikes in hospitalizations are a thing of the past. But we haven’t reached it yet. And we may never reach it when it comes to cases.

I’ll leave you with Biden scapegoating DeSantis and Greg Abbott today as part of the sales pitch for his vaccine mandate. He might not like the political reaction if/when his mandate takes effect and we’re still having major surges of COVID six months later.