I’m writing to find out why so many Republicans in particular are still so opposed to masks and vaccines in an environment where the currently prevalent Delta variant of COVID-19 is infecting people at a much higher rate than the original strain did.

Republican governors DeSantis in Florida and Abbott in Texas, for example, clearly seem to want as many of their constituents, including children, as possible to get COVID-19, with their strong stances against mask and vaccine mandates. Thus far they have been wildly successful.

Why is this? Even Donald Trump was vaccinated when the vaccines were first rolled out last December. It won’t bring us to herd immunity, as we now know that people can get the virus multiple times.

If it’s about the safety and reliability of the vaccines, by now we have overwhelming evidence that, while no vaccine is 100% effective, the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are highly safe and effective including against the Delta variant.

If it’s about personal freedom, as was stated in a recent letter, we each have the personal right to get sick and die from COVID-19, but we do not have the right to transmit it to other people. Government should always have the authority to protect the public from each other as it does, for instance, with anti-violence and anti-smoking regulations.

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Carole Mataya, Rochester