Forget the Covid-19 pandemic. The top public health official in the United States has just announced that the real disease is people: specifically, the estimated 47 percent of the population that, for whatever reason, remains unvaccinated.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who nonetheless calls for the reopening of all public schools this fall despite the fact that children under the age of 12 are still not allowed to receive the shots. Does this mean that she also considers kids to be a disease?
Even if one were to dismiss Walensky's appalling statement as merely a poor choice of words, the fact remains that words do matter. Pathologizing minorities and oppressed groups of people is a hallmark of cruel, totalitarian regimes. The Nazis in Germany referred to Jews as viruses and vermin before eradicating six million of them in death camps. The Hutus called the Tutsis cockroaches before the Rwanda genocide. Closer to home, it was common and socially acceptable little more than a century ago to label native Americans and Black people as subhuman, the better to kill, displace, and enslave them. And only few years ago, in a pre-woke New York Times article about mass immigration from France to England, Muslim refugees fleeing from American forever-wars were likened to rats trying to force their way through tunnels. They were a "festering" problem migrating from "squalid" unsanitary camps in order, the reader might infer, to infest cleaner climes. Even after Yours Truly wrote a critical comment and the Times revised the piece, they still used the term "illegal migrants" to describe the refugees. They still called human beings illegal, thus dehumanizing them. And the liberal reader commentariat dutifully followed suit.
For his own part, President Biden is strategically accusing the data-thieving Facebook monopoly of "killing people" by allowing misinformation about the Covid vaccines to be published on its platform. This is at the very same time that the White House admits flagging posts it doesn't like so that Facebook, its erstwhile partner in oligarchic governance, can patriotically remove them. Censorship, even if for a putative "good cause," is still censorship. The suppression of Covid public discourse is just a gateway drug, leading to even more censorship.
Now, about those 150 million-plus Americans who remain unvaccinated or only partly vaccinated. Contrary to liberal urban legend, they aren't all white anti-mask Red state Trump supporters thumbing their noses at Science just to be ornery.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black and Hispanic people have consistently lower vaccination rates across all 50 states, leaving them at massively elevated risk for severe illness and death, especially with the emergence of the more contagious Delta variant. This is in keeping with the historical lack of health care services to these communities. It's also keeping with the structural racism now finally being acknowledged by the Newly Woke. The CDC's own recommendations for more racial and ethnic equity as regards vaccine availability make Dr. Wolensky's characterization of the unvaccinated as a walking pandemic in their own right sound all the more cruel.
The CDC reports demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at the national level. As of July 4, 2021, CDC reported that race/ethnicity was known for 58% of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (59%), 9% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, 6% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while 8% reported multiple or other race. However, CDC data also show that recent vaccinations are reaching larger shares of Hispanic, Asian, and Black populations. Thirty-four percent of vaccines administered in the past 14 days have gone to Hispanic people, 6% to Asian people, and 12% to Black people These recent trends suggest a narrowing of racial gaps in vaccinations at the national level, particularly for Hispanic people, who have recently received a larger share of vaccinations compared to their share of the total population (34% vs. 17%). While these data provide helpful insights at a national level, to date, CDC is not publicly reporting state-level data on the racial/ethnic composition of people vaccinated.
In California, for example, 29 percent of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, who account for 63 percent of cases, 48 percent of deaths and 40 percent of the population in the state. In New York, Black people have accounted for only 12 percent of vaccinations and 21 percent of Covid deaths.
Across the 40 states that provided racial and ethnic statistics, according to the KFF article, "the percent of White people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose (47%) was roughly 1.4 times higher than the rate for Black people (34%) and 1.2 times higher than the rate for Hispanic people (39%) as of July 6, 2021."
increased by 30 percent in 2020, the first pandemic year, making it the largest increase ever recorded