As coronavirus cases surge again across the United States, many inoculated people are losing patience with vaccine holdouts who they say are neglecting a civic duty or clinging to misinformation even as new patients arrive in emergency rooms and the nation renews mask advisories.
Barely a month ago, the country seemed to be exiting the pandemic, and a sense of celebration was palpable. Now, many vaccinated people fear for their unvaccinated children and worry that they themselves are still at risk of infection. Rising case rates are upending plans for school and workplace reopenings, and threatening another wave of infections that may overwhelm hospitals.
The mounting anger is contributing to political support for more coercive measures. Scientists, business leaders and government officials are calling for vaccine mandates — if not by the federal government, then by local jurisdictions, schools, employers and businesses.
And frustration is straining relations even within closely knit families.
Josh Perldeiner, 36, a public defender in Connecticut who has a 2-year-old son, was fully vaccinated by mid-May. But a close relative, who visits frequently, has refused to get the shots, although he and other family members have urged her to do so.
She recently tested positive for the virus after traveling to Florida, where hospitals are filling with Covid-19 patients. Now Mr. Perldeiner worries that his son may have been exposed.
“It goes beyond just putting us at risk,” he said. As infections rise, he added, “I feel like we’re at that same precipice as just a year ago, where people don’t care if more people die.”
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