One particularly pernicious myth going around in the US is the notion that “natural immunity,” gained from contracting Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is preferable to getting vaccinated. One prominent politician, Sen. Rand Paul (R.–Ky.), has declared that he refuses to get vaccinated, because of his belief that he has “natural immunity” since he’s “already had the disease” (Slate, 5/23/21). Now, the Republican Party is officially embracing its position as the anti-vaccine political party, advocating what they call “natural immunity” as an alternative or substitute to getting vaccinated, as the Associated Press (11/21/21) reported: Republicans fighting President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandates are wielding a new weapon against the White House rules: natural immunity.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Friday signed into law a bill to remove the shield of legal immunity that has long protected police officers from civil suits for on-the-job misconduct, a measure civil libertarians hailed as landmark legislation. The Colorado state legislature passed the sweeping police accountability bill last week in the wake of nationwide protests over unfair treatment of racial minorities by law enforcement, sparked by the death of an unarmed Black man under the knee of a white Minneapolis policeman last month. Polis, a first-term Democrat, took the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, celebrating the abolition of slavery in the United States, to formally enact the law.
The nation’s highest court brushed aside a number of cases that would have allowed it to readdress law enforcement officers’ broad immunity from lawsuits over police brutality. Justices on the Supreme Court turned away more than a dozen lawsuits related to qualified immunity, the legal doctrine which lets police officers escape accountability for using tactics that haven’t been expressly banned in prior court decisions. Even when police officers clearly violate constitutional rights, they are often not held liable because the right that they violate wasn’t clearly established by the courts at the time. The decision came three weeks after the police killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests. The mass support of the Black Lives Matter movement has swiftly ushered in public opinion shifts on law enforcement issues, even though it’s unclear whether law enforcement will once again stave off broader changes to America’s policing system.