Many residents in a small county in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are now declaring that they “identify as fully vaccinated” as a result of recent guidance that allows inoculated citizens to go out in public without wearing masks.
The revised guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which allows fully vaccinated people to “resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing” in public, has ultimately caused some debate over how to enforce mask and social distancing mandates.
According to Kerry Ott, public information officer for the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft (LMAS) health department, others are taking advantage of the uncertainty in a part of the world desperate to be free of the pandemic.
“A lot of people are using the phrase, ‘I identify as fully vaccinated’ and taking their masks off,” Ott said about the Luce County residents.
“I’m not kidding …They’re not vaccinated, but they’re going to take their masks off,” Ott also told said.
The opportunistic behavior is facing no opposition from public health officials in a county of 6,600 inhabitants where just three people have died from the virus.
According to reports, Ott has informed local businesses that there isn’t anything they can do but make a “good faith” attempt.
“We’re just repeating what is in the governor’s orders. We’re not asking for people’s [vaccination] cards. We’re just asking for them to self attest their vaccination status. And if they say yes, we’re telling the businesses, ‘Then take them at their word and move forward,’” she said.
In the article, writer Kate Wells paraphrased a popular quote by former President Donald Trump to say that “the cure is worse than the disease.” in the Upper Peninsula, especially in Luce County.
Raymond Mahaffey, or “Chef Ray,” as locals call him, shared the quote and is one of just 35 percent of the county’s residents who has been vaccinated.
“Ultimately, it’ll all work itself out. It’s time to let nature take its course.” he said, showing that he is not concerned about the virus anymore.
He also believes that the school and business lockdown measures have become too high a price to bear for a virus that isn’t much worse than the flu.
“Can you imagine if they said, ‘OK, we’re going to close the school for three months, and the kids are going to suffer, because guess what? Somebody got the flu. We got little kids in school that are passing [the virus] around, and they’re as healthy as can be, but they’ve tested positive.” he said.
“There is no reason [for this] a year later, with the numbers being so small [here], [The restrictions have] been nothing but political. It’s been crazy. And we can’t wait to get it over with.” he continued.