Needles and noses: Vaccines and masks are a must to beating COVID

Shifting away from his Afghan debacle, President Joe Biden on Wednesday went back to that other war, COVID-19, with a two-prong attack on the enemy: vaccines and masks. This fight cannot be victorious unless all Americans join together — so we urge Donald Trump, winner of 74 million votes, to be patriotic and get his booster shot before the cameras and urge his followers to follow him. He can even get Tucker Carlson to join him and call it a party.

Pleading to the 30% of eligible Americans 12 and older who haven’t gotten the vaccines, Biden rightly said that those 85 million people are the reservoir for the disease to thrive in. Almost all the COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are from that group. There is every reason to get the protection and no good excuse to avoid it.

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He is using his authority to order that in all nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds — just about all of them — employees must be vaccinated, adding to the no jab, no job movement spreading among private employers.

Meantime, the 70% who have gotten the lifesaving shots will wisely start getting their boosters eight months after the completion of their initial round. The start date is Sept. 20, which is eight months since Jan. 20 and Trump and his wife had their vaccinations in January before the end of his term. Trump might even get an invite to return to the White House for the shot; Biden, in the name of unity, should welcome that if his predecessor is amenable.

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As the majority gets additional protection, it’s always a good time for the unprotected to join in. The main group who can’t are kids under 12, which is why masks in schools are essential. To his further credit, Biden is taking action to stop governors like Florida’s reckless Ron DeSantis from interfering with local schools that want to require masks. The one-two-punch of vaccines and masks are our way — our only way — to defeat COVID-19.

— New York Daily News

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