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The “Key to NYC Pass,” which de Blasio noted is the first vaccine requirement of its kind in the nation, imposes the most severe restrictions to date on Americans who have not been jabbed for COVID-19.
“This is a miraculous place, literally full of wonders, and if you’re vaccinated, all that’s going to open up to you. You’ll have the key, you can open the door,” the New York City mayor said during a virtual press briefing.
This means that this “door” will remain closed to those who have opted not to receive the COVID-19 jab.
“If you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things. That’s the point we’re trying to get across. It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good, full, and healthy life,” de Blasio added.
“The goal here is to convince everyone this is the time we’re gonna stop the Delta variant, the time is now. And that means getting vaccinated right now,” continued de Blasio.
He explained that the Pass will launch and have its policy finalized and published by August 16. Inspections and enforcement will begin September 13.
Former Biden White House Senior Adviser for COVID response Andy Slavitt supported de Blasio’s program during the press briefing with the claim that “the delta variant is a very different kind of COVID” than the original strain, and that “If you’re not vaccinated, only five minutes of exposure can infect you.”
Neither de Blasio nor Slavitt mentioned that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the vaccinated have been shown to have “no significant difference” in viral load from the unvaccinated, as NPR reported, which suggests they can transmit the virus just as easily.
CDC’s citation of “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections in the vaccinated was used as a justification for the recent masking recommendation.
Reuters explained these “latest scientific findings” by pointing out that “the higher the amount of coronavirus in the nose and throat, the more likely the patient will infect others.”
“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a statement Friday.
Last week, the CDC shared data showing that 74 percent of people infected in a Massachusetts COVID-19 outbreak “were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with four of them ending up in the hospital,” as CNBC reported.
While de Blasio did not mention whether children, for whom the COVID-19 vaccine Emergency Use Authorization has not yet been issued, would be allowed inside commercial establishments, Slavitt explained that the Pass is a way to protect people who cannot be vaccinated because they are either 12 years old or younger, or because they have a compromised immune system.
“These people that can’t be vaccinated, that must take a priority, and that must be protected from the city. And it is putting those people and their needs higher than people who have choices who are not taking them that’s so essential,” Slavitt continued.
Slavitt did not mention pregnant women as being considered among those who cannot be vaccinated, raising further ethical questions about the Pass. Pregnant women, as a matter of standard protocol, were excluded from the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine studies. Documented risks of vaccination during pregnancy include miscarriage as well as neurodevelopmental problems arising from maternal immune activation (an inflammatory response in the mother that can harm fetal brain development), as the Children’s Health Defense has reported.
The “Key to NYC Pass” requires at least one COVID-19 shot, and the use of either the state’ “Excelsior Pass,” the city’s new vaccine pass, or the CDC’s paper vaccine card as proof of vaccination. A negative COVID-19 test will not be accepted as a condition for entry.
The Pass is part of the escalation of “tougher” COVID-19 mandates that de Blasio said was forthcoming last week.
“Given everything we’re learning, all options are on the table,” he said Friday on CNN. “I keep saying we’re climbing the ladder in terms of more and more mandates, tougher and tougher measures to make sure people are vaccinated.”
In late July, de Blasio mandated that all public health system employees get COVID-19 jabs or receive weekly COVID-19 tests — “and then expanded the requirement to the entire city workforce,” as the New York Post reported.
Rounding out de Blasio’s “carrot and stick” approach, New York City started incentivizing vaccination on July 30 by offering $100 to anyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccination from a city vaccine site.
Fox contributor and law professor at George Washington University Jonathan Turley noted regarding the Pass that “Many of these proposals have been supported by people who say, ‘We really have to make life hard on the unvaccinated … we have to make it as difficult as possible to live without the vaccine.’ So there’s this type of coerced consent model that’s kicking in here.”
The Pass is being slammed by commentators as “draconian.”
Asked about the new mandate, Boston Mayor Kim Janey said the move reminds her of the time of “slavery.”
“During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through here, we’ve heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense,” Janey told WCVB. “Here, we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionally impact BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.”
The Federalist reported, “According to NYC Health, black Americans are the least vaccinated racial group in the city, with only 31 percent of eligible citizens fully vaccinated and 35 percent having received at least one dose.”
Mayor de Blasio is announcing that 69% of Blacks, 58% of Latinos, and the majority of Bronx residents are ineligible to eat in a restaurant or go to a gym. https://t.co/oyw8kgRDKS
— Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) August 3, 2021
At least a few have noted that ID is still not required to vote in the state of New York.
Some are calling for open protest of the mandate, and several protests are already in the works.
The New York Young Republican Club has announced plans to march on Gracie Mansion on Sunday, August 15 at 3:30 p.m. in protest of the mandate.
A “Medical Freedom Rally,” a more general protest against mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports, will take place at New York City Hall on Monday, August 9 at 12 p.m.
Comedian Chrissie Mayr has added her name to the list of entertainers, such as Eric Clapton, who refuse to perform at venues that are segregated by vaccine status.
“In light of DeBlasio’s announced mandates, I will NOT be performing at any NYC venue that requires vaccination for entry,” she announced on Twitter. “I will not participate in segregation by vaccination status. Whether you are vaccinated or not, I encourage all performers to stand together.”
“I’m a blast on stage, but no amount of laughter is worth your freedom and privacy. People should not be coerced, shamed, or intimidated into a medical decision just to have a night out. This is what real authoritarianism looks like. We need to stand together.”