By now, much of America is moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, data shows that cases are still increasing because of new variants and because people are behaving irresponsibly.

Vaccines are safe and effective. A big part of the problem is certainly that nearly half of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated.  But getting vaccinated is a necessary condition to thwarting the pandemic, not a sufficient one.

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In New York, between May 3 and July 15, 2021, 1,285 fully vaccinated adults were hospitalized with COVID-19.  These numbers are certain to increase because vaccines lose their efficacy over time: especially the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which most vaccinated citizens have received.  So vaccinations are not a license to ignore easy and necessary precautions like wearing masks to grocery stores.

But an even bigger problem than irresponsible adult behavior is that Americans are sending their children back to schools, where a vast majority of students are unvaccinated.  According to the CDC, as of the end of July, only 25% of 12–15-year-olds were vaccinated, and several steps remain before children under the age of 12 can obtain vaccinations.  Some states, like Florida and Arizona, have gone as far as to ban schools from enacting mask mandates, which has led to school districts defying government orders, governors threatening to withhold funding from these districts, and parents filing lawsuits to defend their children’s and their families’ health.  But even in more moderate political climates, school mask mandates are optional.  It’s one thing for adults to act irresponsibly and politicize a pandemic, but it’s another to jeopardize children and force them to choose between their health and their education—especially children with disabilities and immunodeficiency, or children living with high-risk adults.

Continue being responsible about COVID-19.  Sign this petition to support school mask mandates.

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