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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: It's time to mandate an end to this pandemic

Adria Crehuet Cano

Chicago now requires proof of vaccination at gyms, restaurants and other venues where food is available. City leaders are no doubt hoping that the ordinance is the incentive many need to finally decide to get the shots. Because let’s face it — advising, urging, and pleading have not done the trick. And many of those who are vaccinated may now return to places that haven’t felt safe since the onset of delta and omicron.

We all want to bid farewell to this new normal that seems really old now that we’re in the second year of the pandemic. Mitigation measures to prevent the spread of the virus are key to this, with vaccination at the top of the list. And though mandates may be controversial, they do work.

So I was disappointed when DeKalb’s city officials decided not to follow Chicago’s lead. DeKalb’s vaccination rate is very low at 48%. So when you are in a gym or restaurant here, look around at the mostly unmasked people who are exercising and eating. Half of them are not vaccinated.

The virus is spreading like wildfire. We all know people who are sick or quarantined. Hospital staff are stretched thin, with COVID patients occupying 40% of Kishwaukee Hospital’s beds. DeKalb students and parents have been warned that classes may have to go remote again.

It is past time for DeKalb’s leaders to work harder to control the spread of the virus. Join me in asking Mayor Barnes and City Manager Nicklas to reconsider their decision.

I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my perspective.