MA Outbreak: It was what you thought it was.

As you may have seen this week, the CDC has issued new guidelines recommending all students K-12 start masking again this fall. These guidelines, that include wearing a mask indoors whether vaccinated or not, were triggered in part by a recent outbreak of COVID here in the Commonwealth. This outbreak, or cluster, was referred to obliquely by ABC News as a “Cape Cod beach outbreak,” suggesting it had been spread by families simply swimming and collecting shells on the shore. However, this Delta-variant vaccine breakthrough occurred very specifically in Provincetown early last month, and not among young families. You might have wondered if it was a mere coincidence that June was “Pride Month” and much celebrated there annually. In fact, it wasn’t just Pride Month. It was “Bear Week.”

Gay Rights activist Peter Staley tweeted out that “everyone is missing the horny bear in the room. Bears go to Ptown to have lots of fun which includes lots of sex.” And… “Hoping CDC used other cohorts for their new Ro. Ptown’s is skewed by (gay) boys being boys.”

A well-known journalist who lives in Provincetown said much the same. “In Fourth of July week, the town was completely swamped this year, followed swiftly by Bear Week; lines for the bars lasted for blocks; the bars themselves were packed; the weather was dreadful, forcing most of the crowd to pack tightly inside. A tiny town built for a few thousand residents has to absorb up to 40,000 in peak season. One bar in particular — the home for a dance party with the inspired name of ‘Fag Bash’ — resembles a kind of dank dungeon where sweat drips from the ceiling and mold reaches up the walls. It might have been designed for viral transmission. A big swathe of the crowd had also just come from a week of Pride partying in New York City and were likely not, shall we say, at their immunological best. It was a muggy, viral heaven in a classic post-plague burst of bacchanalia.”  

Blaming the unvaccinated

But medical experts didn’t seem interested in asking whether “dank dungeons” or “(gay) boys being boys” had any impact on this new viral vector. Instead, they blamed the COVID cluster on the unvaccinated. In the Boston Globe, “Dr. Cassandra Pierre, a hospital epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center and an assistant professor at the Boston University, said… ‘There are concerns that I have that this event does potentially represent that unvaccinated individuals are also in the mix, removing masks, being in close proximity, being in indoor settings, and not potentially being as careful about risk and exposure… Reintroducing that mask mandate would provide that additional layer of protection…”

In response to the new CDC guidance, “Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health… said the time has come for vaccine mandates in workplaces and schools. ‘The unvaccinated, by choice, are a threat to public health at this point.’” These supposed experts focused on the unvaccinated despite the fact that the cluster consisted of mostly vaccinated adults (346 out of 469 cases, or 74%). That brought to mind Governor Baker’s singling out the covid clusters at religious gatherings just before Christmas, despite the actual percentage of cases related to churches being vanishingly small.

Nevertheless, pronouncements like this will likely increase pressure on MA students and parents who are not comfortable with vaccinating young adults, and be referred to as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” not of the sexually promiscuous. Gay men cavort in a “post-plague burst of bacchanalia,” while our children face increased masking and vaccination pressure as a result.

Fighting back…

But the good news is that citizens are beginning to fight back against the government mandates and its media coverage. An encouraging sign is the group of students who are taking UMass to federal court over their vaccine mandate. A number of colleges in MA have taken it upon themselves to add the covid vaccine to the vaccination list required by state law. Whether or not the schools actually have the authority to mandate vaccines beyond what the MA Department of Health requires is still uncertain. Complicating the issue further, schools like BC and UMass are misapplying the religious exemption, acting like ecclesiastical courts and denying students’ requests.

In a suit filed last week with the help of Springfield area attorney Ryan McLane, two UMass students are seeking an injunction against the school’s covid vaccine mandate. Part of their complaint focuses on the way one of the student’s request for a religious exemption was denied.

“[I]nterim Vice Chancellor Shawn De Veau denied [the student’s] appeal on the basis that 1) DeVeau… deemed [the student] to be Roman Catholic, and 2) that, based on De Veau’s research, the vaccine would not violate the tenets of the Catholic faith.”

What exactly qualifies De Veau to make pronouncements on the sincerely held religious beliefs of students and the doctrine of the Catholic Church? His official bio shows he is a career education bureaucrat who also serves on the board of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. Last month, I wrote to you on what they were singing and it surely was not Catholic theology!

I spoke with Attorney McLane earlier this week, and he reiterated that the school’s policy was vague and arbitrary, and that UMass should not be in the business of dictating Catholic theology to its students. He’s right, of course. He also pointed out the school’s hypocrisy in requiring the vaccine for students, but not for faculty and staff, in which case, such a mandate would run afoul of collective bargaining agreements. We will keep you posted on this case and others like it, as we prepare for schools to start in the coming weeks. 

As you can see, MFI continues to be at the forefront of the effort to defend the family’s freedom and wellbeing. In addressing challenges that are an increasing threat to our traditional faith and values, we are always hesitant to share some of the more unsavory issues we face, but knowledge is a fundamental building block in our effort to maintain a healthy society. And we are grateful for your support and prayers for our team. Finally, on a note of encouragement, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the mayor of Boston, Kim Janey, said she will NOT follow New York City’s new policy of requiring vaccine passports. That, at least, is some good news! 

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