Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has declared the COVID-19 emergency “over” and said he will not be ordering another statewide mask mandate in response to respond to the emergence of the Omicron variant in the U.S.
“Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated,” Polis told Colorado Public Radio on Friday, according to the New York Post. “Hopefully it’s been at your pharmacy, your grocery store, a bus near you, [or at] big events. At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault.”
“Those who get sick, it’s almost entirely their own darn fault,” Polis added. “I don’t want to say that nobody [will get the virus if they’re] vaccinated, but it’s very rare. Just to put it in perspective, of the about 1400 people hospitalized, less than 200 (or 16 percent) are vaccinated. And many of them are older or have other conditions. Eighty-four percent of the people in our hospitals are unvaccinated, and they absolutely had every chance to get vaccinated.”
“And at this point, I think it’s almost like they made a deliberate decision not to get vaccinated,” the governor said. “I still encourage everybody who hasn’t been vaccinated to get protected. And for those who are, make sure to get that booster after six months. The data shows it’s important and very likely even more so with this omicron variant.”
But Polis said cities and counties in his state can institute mandates if they so choose, but added that the state will stay out of it.
“The emergency is over,” he said. “You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job. Public health [officials] would say to always wear a mask because it decreases flu and decreases [other airborne illnesses]. But that’s not something that you require; you don’t tell people what to wear. You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to [wear it]. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault,” he said, according to the Post.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s your choice. I respect that. But it’s your fault when you’re in the hospital with COVID,” he added.
Still, several Denver metro area counties have recently instituted new rules, including a “vax or mask” mandate, that require businesses to mandate masks indoors or require customers to provide proof they have been vaccinated.
The governor’s declaration came just before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there were just 43 cases of Omicron detected in the U.S. during the first eight days of December.
Among the small number, 34 were fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and 14 had also received a booster shot.
“Six had previously recovered from a COVID infection. Young adults under the age of 40 accounted for most of the Omicron cases, and there were no deaths among the group.” the Daily Mail reported. Just one of those suffering from Omicron was briefly hospitalized.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, now says “the early data indicates that Omicron may not pose as great a risk of serious illness as the Delta variant, but stressed that further information is needed before he can definitively confirm that,” the Mail reported.
Fauci said federal officials are “continuing to evaluate” whether to urge Americans to get a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19. “For official requirements, it’s still two shots of the mRNA [Pfizer or Moderna] and one shot of the J&J for the official determination of what’s required or not,’ Fauci told ABC News on Sunday.