The governor’s office continues to hold the state back because of irrational fears of COVID-19. Based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, healthy K-12 children are at greater risk from influenza and are not driving community spread of COVID – they are recipients of it.

Now that COVID vaccines have been available and most who have wanted to have been vaccinated, it is time for a new approach. Case rates and mortality are down significantly. If the economy is to open up, Maine’s children’s masking and distancing requirements need to end.

Employees cannot return to work without reliable child care, which means full access to summer camps and, in September, classrooms at full capacity. The job displacement and harm falls most heavily on women and especially those in service industry jobs. Decades of gains toward equality are being wiped out while the leadership wrings their hands.

Lastly, does equity end at the U.S. border? Holding camps and schools hostage to childhood vaccination ignores the cold, hard facts. The world’s poor, especially the non-white ones, are dying at an alarming rate because of vaccine hoarding.

It is likely my teenager will be getting a booster shot in 2023 while millions are still infected worldwide and providing a breeding ground for future variants, which will show us how connected we truly are.

Zak Harding
Wells

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