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Inslee’s critical step

I usually ignore the right-wing broadsides in Sue Lani Madsen’s columns, but I must challenge her August 19 attack on Gov. Jay Inslee’s reinstated mask mandate.

In a ludicrous argument, Madsen conflates ignorant anti-maskers battling Inslee with heroic “Boston Tea Party” citizens pushing back against the overbearing British.

This is laughable. Inslee’s decision is a well-considered public health strategy to protect us all – even the unvaccinated who rant against masks while willfully spreading the virus. The 17,600 Facebook protesters she praises represent a tiny minority of Washington state’s 7.76 million citizens.

My father was a U.S. diplomat in the 1950s and ’60s. The federal government mandated vaccines for all of its employees working abroad to prevent them from getting terrible diseases, including diphtheria, typhoid and scarlet fever. The “vaccine passports” my family carried were a condition of employment.

The CDC is right: our current Covid-19 Delta variant surge is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Just look at Mississippi, a state with the nation’s second-worst vaccination rate. Some 90% of recent cases there were in unvaccinated people, 20,000 children have fallen ill, and doctors are predicting the COVID-induced collapse of their hospital system while begging their recalcitrant Republican governor to do what Inslee has done: order an indoor mask mandate.

Inslee’s mandate is not a “step too far,” as Madsen argues. It is a critical step to battle one of the most persistent and deadly pandemics in recent history.

Karen Dorn Steele


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