Governor's COVID-19 mandates are hurting New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Governor’s COVID-19 mandates are hurting New Mexico

Our state has become a nationwide leader in demonstrating what not to do. We are suffering under mandates and restrictions that are hurting our health care system, schoolchildren, businesses and citizens, with no obvious benefits!

We have one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, the nation’s first booster shot mandate (for workers in high-risk environments) and have been under a(n almost) continual statewide mask mandate for nearly two years. Nonetheless, we are currently experiencing one of the worst COVID surges in the country, with high hospitalization and death rates.

New Mexico is one of only eight states with a statewide mask mandate (for workers in high-risk environments); 42 states do not have statewide mask mandates. Other states are pointing to New Mexico as an example of failed mask policies. Yet, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has extended our mask mandate for another month.

Lujan Grisham is failing our schools. New Mexico already had one of the worst educational systems in the country, and now it is even worse. We are one of only 16 states (and the District of Columbia) that have statewide school mask mandates. As a result, New Mexico children, teachers and school personnel are suffering. …

New Mexico teachers and learning specialists have reported that masks directly impede the learning of such crucial skills as reading and mathematics, have serious negative effects on children’s emotional and developmental health, and interfere with children’s ability to learn communication and facial expressions. Thirty-four other states have shown it is safe to operate schools without mandates. New Mexico already had a huge teacher and substitute teacher shortage, and now COVID-19 mandates are driving many teachers out of the school system, further worsening the situation. … Our health care system is suffering under the governor’s mandates, too. Vaccine mandates have resulted in our health care system not being able to handle the respiratory illness season well. Our state already had a massive shortage of nurses, and the mandates are resulting in capable, dependable health care workers being driven out of our health care system.

Vaccine mandates are discriminatory and violate rights to bodily autonomy. New Mexico, which prides itself on respecting people’s bodily autonomy, is trampling on these rights for thousands of health care workers, state employees and teachers. Everyone deserves the right to make their own informed medical choices, without coercion, threats or discrimination. Many already have robust natural immunity from COVID-19. Clinical trials for all COVID-19 vaccinations are ongoing, and the long-term risks are unknown.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can become infected with COVID-19, as well as easily spread it to others. It has also been shown … that high vaccination rates are not linked to decreased rates of COVID-19. It is time for Lujan Grisham to respect New Mexicans’ rights and end the harmful mandates.

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