Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the pandemic and its effects.
After months of begging Americans to get themselves vaccinated, President Joe Biden has stopped asking nicely. On September 9th the Biden administration announced a requirement to be vaccinated or tested regularly covering about 100m Americans. There are clear reasons for taking this unusual step. Only 54% of Americans are fully vaccinated, meaning the nation is lagging behind its peers.
In a leader, we argue that Republican opposition to the vaccine mandate is fatally wrong-headed. The details of the Biden mandate could be improved on, but in democracies public health sometimes requires some coercion.
Polls, meanwhile, show broad public support for the vaccine mandate—52% of adults approve whereas 40% disapprove.
The mandate comes as covid-19 cases in American children are at an all-time high, raising the question of whether in-person schooling accelerates the spread of the virus.
France tackled its vaccine hesitancy using covid-19 passports, which have proved efficient, and surprisingly popular.
India’s pupils have been hard hit by extended school closures during the pandemic. Poverty, undernourishment and poor pedagogy make a bad situation worse.
Britain is no longer at war with the coronavirus. Instead, it is working out how best to manage its presence. Its aim is to keep the economy open while saving hospitals from being overwhelmed. Vaccine passports, masks and working from home will be only back-up options. Another piece of good news is that vaccines seem to be holding up against the Delta variant—new data show that severe covid-19 is much rarer among vaccinated Britons.