At last week's Northampton County Council meeting, Executive Lamont McClure stated that Governor Tom Wolf was "absolutely correct" to allow teachers to jump to the front of the Covid-19 vaccine line. They now have priority over Phase 1A citizens, who include medical personnel, citizens who are age 65+ and those who are at-risk. I have no idea why McClure found it necessary to inject himself into this issue. It was a mistake, both on the science and for himself politically. He may have endeared himself to the teachers' union, but has alienated the largest voting block in municipal race - senior citizens.
Let's look at the "science" behind letting school teachers and other school personnel jump the line ahead of Pennsylvanians 65 and older.
According to the US Census, there are an estimated 2,542,780 Pennsylvanians between the ages of 5 and 19 (my proxy for school-age children). Of that population, the state has reported a total of 8 COVID deaths (all but one of the deaths occurred in the 15-19 age group) as of March 5, 2021. So, for the 5-19 age group, the death rate is about 3 in a million.
Likewise, there are an estimated 6,579,649 Pennsylvanians in the 20-59 age group (my proxy for teachers and other school personnel). Of that population, the state has reported a total of 1,556 COVID deaths (of which, over 1,100 were in the 50-59 age group) as of March 5, 2021. So, for the 20-59 age group, the death rate is about 236 in a million.
Finally, there are an estimated 2,430,767 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older. Of that population, the state has reported a total of 21,400 COVID deaths as of March 5, 2021. So for the 65+ age group, the death rate is about 8,800 in a million.
So, if you are 65 or older, your COVID death rate is more than 37 times that of teachers and other school personnel. But, our governor tells us "his science" demands that elderly Pennsylvanians step aside so that school teachers can get vaccinated first.
Interestingly, there has been no agreement by teachers to go back to full-time, in-class teaching even after all their members have been vaccinated for COVID.
McClure has made sense and has been highly proactive when dealing with Covid-19 in Northampton County, which he likes to call "our little corner of the world." He should stick to what he does well and avoid playing both the blame game or attempting to support a politically unpopular governor over a decision that has alienated the largest voting block in McClure's own re-election.