By Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson
COVID-19 has now been in Oregon for well over 18 months. During this time, we have seen unprecedented acts out of Governor Brown’s office in response to the virus, including an incredible amount of regulations on our businesses, schools and events throughout Oregon. Too many small businesses in Oregon have closed their doors for good due to the constantly changing regulations and new rules imposed as a result of Governor Brown’s executive orders.
Mandates streaming out Governor Brown’s office are not needed to combat COVID-19. If you actually follow the science, the spikes and spread of the virus are similar regardless of whether people are mandated to wear masks or not. We are now on the downside of the current spike. Vaccination rates are going up, hospitalizations rates are going down and natural immunity is happening. People are protecting themselves, they have the information. I trust them to make the right decision based on their choice, not a mandate from Governor Brown.
The narrative is changing, in the beginning vaccinations were supposed to help reduce hospitalization of COVID-19 patients. (Why Oregon has the lowest per capita of ICU beds in America is a topic for another letter.) Today data continues to mount on those with highly potent natural immunity, or what scientist are calling hybrid-immunity. A series of studies I found show some people mount an extraordinarily powerful immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the virus COVID-19. Their bodies produce very high levels of antibodies, but they also make antibodies with great flexibility — likely capable of fighting off the coronavirus variants circulating in the world but also likely effective against variants that may emerge in the future. In a meeting with OHA director Pat Allen, he stated that the best protection is having the vaccine and being exposed to COVID. The combination would give your body the best chance to fight off the virus.
While I understand the need to “do something”, I trust Oregonians. At this time, Oregonians understand the need to get vaccinated if they choose, wear a mask if they feel the need, stay home if they are at risk or afraid and wash their hands often. True leadership is not mandating and forcing a government will on people, it is providing information people can actually trust, and not bending or changing reporting metrics to fit a political desire or support a certain position.
As the October deadline looms for too many of our essential workers, – health care, front line, state employed and education heroes – I would like to see Governor Brown lead not mandate. Oregonians are good people and know what is right and important to them; Oregonians are smart people, they can discuss their situation with their doctor and make decisions that are best for themselves and their families. I trust Oregonians. I want all Oregonians to be healthy and safe, but I have not forgotten my duty to liberty and the Constitution. Freedom built America.
Vikki Breese-Iverson is rancher and small business owner from Prineville who represents Oregon House District 55.