Op-Ed: Covid 19 – the Political Security Blanket?

Op-Ed: Covid 19 – the Political Security Blanket?

Now that the president has declared the pandemic over, one would think bureaucrats in government would follow suit and help move the country forward.  Instead, just the opposite has happened.

As we enter the third year of what is fast becoming a never-ending global pandemic, it is clear that some in the political realm look upon this as “the gift that keeps on giving.”  It is no coincidence that just when the country seems to be moving on and returning to some semblance of normalcy, reports of a new variant, increases in positive cases or new restrictions looming show up like a group of skunks at a church picnic.  What makes this even more perplexing is the enormous amount of information we have learned about the virus, its prevention and treatment.

Some of the facts that we now know:

  • The virus has a 99% survival rate in almost every demographic category
  • Contact tracing is virtually useless unless employed at the very onset of an outbreak
  • Recent studies show that masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of Covid 19
  • The Covid 19 vaccine does not prevent infection, and in many cases, does not lessen the severity of the virus
  • Natural immunity is as effective and, in some cases, more so than vaccines

With all we now know, why then do politicians insist on doom and gloom forewarnings that if “X’ happens, we will have to do “Y” in response?  To make matters worse, many government policies seem to be stuck in March 2020, when we were all on board with hunkering down for two weeks to “flatten the curve.”  One of the most egregious examples was the mandatory weekly testing of unvaccinated teachers in New Jersey public schools.

Thankfully, this requirement was lifted, at least for the time being, in early August, however, unvaccinated healthcare workers are being forced to test weekly, even though they selflessly worked throughout the pandemic before a vaccine was available.  The same policy is in place for state correction officers. This is a particular head scratcher since we know that vaccinated/boosted individuals can contract and spread the virus, often at higher rates than unvaccinated people.  For that matter, why would unvaccinated people in any situation be required to test when vaccinated individuals are not?

The bizarre mandates do not stop there. Schoolchildren in Newark public schools are being forced to wear masks during the school day even though studies show masks to be largely ineffective and school age children are in an immeasurably low risk category.  Also, Rutgers University requires students who are studying remotely to test weekly, even though they are not physically anywhere near a college campus.

In fairness, a number of other schools, organizations, corporations and on are requiring the same thing.  Aside from the complete medical uselessness of this type of mandate, the cost in time and money to comply with this absurdity is astronomical.

Almost every one of the thousands of constituents who have contacted my office over the past two and a half years have conveyed the same message – no more lockdowns, no more mandates.  My policy regarding Covid 19 since day one has been that government’s role should be to provide the public with information, make recommendations and allow people to make their own medical decisions in consultation with their personal physicians.

As for those politicians who insist on perpetuating the public fear created by this pandemic, I predict political suicide for those who foolishly try and revisit the days of mandates, economy-killing hardline lockdowns, dictatorial executive orders, and retaliatory threats of job losses and exclusion against law-abiding citizens. The American people are fed up with having their freedoms taken away by a government who feels “they know better” than the average citizen.  That anger will likely be on full display on November 8th.


Gerry Scharfenberger, PhD. is a New Jersey Assemblyman representing the State’s 13th Legislative District.