Dear Mayor and Members of the Del Mar City Council,
Please reconsider your rejection of Councilmember Worden’s recent COVID protection proposal. I’m convinced that a vaccine mandate would protect everyone who dwells, works, dines, studies, or shops indoors in Del Mar from COVID -19, because it will both prevent the spread of the virus and blunt its evolution into a much more dangerous beast than it is today.
As explained in a recent New York Times article every time this virus infects someone it multiplies tens of millions of times in that person’s respiratory tract. Because the replication machinery in the virus isn’t perfect, each time it reproduces itself it makes a few mistakes, i.e. mutations.
While most mutations are inconsequential some make the virus more dangerous for us. They do this in three ways: by making the mutated virus spread more efficiently to new victims, by making it more deadly, or by making it resistant to vaccine-induced immunity. These are not theoretical outcomes. All have been documented. The Delta variant is an example.
What can we do to prevent the virus from mutating into a more dangerous threat? Mandatory vaccination has proven to be the most effective way to protect us against smallpox, polio, measles, chickenpox, and other dangerous communicable diseases until the diseases were virtually eradicated from the planet. Some vaccines are still mandatory to prevent those diseases from emerging again. What’s scary about that?
I recently asked all of you that question privately. Only one of you answered, writing: “Given the state of affairs of San Diego County and the Public Health officials, I believe that the City of Del Mar did the right thing.” Unfortunately, San Diego County’s decision against a vaccine mandate reflects an abysmal lack of understanding that every unvaccinated person in our midst is not only a COVID transmission threat but is also a coronavirus mutation-factory producing vaccine-resistant variants that also threaten fully vaccinated contacts. That’s everyone. Everyone.
I ask you again, as our leaders in Del Mar, to follow the science and approve a vaccine mandate instead of following the herd and hoping for the best. Have the political courage to make Del Mar a beacon that inspires others to follow your example. If we don’t act decisively now we’ll have no one but ourselves to blame when our grandchildren ask us why we only stood by when we could have stood up to this virus once and for all.
Francis V. Chisari, M.D.