The Non-Essential 16%

The few who are still not allowed to get a vaccine

According to a newsletter from my Alderman, 84% of Chicagoans are now eligible to get the Covid vaccine. This includes those over 65, those with health conditions, and people who are employed in an absurdly long list of professions.

The list is not limited to just front-line healthcare workers, or those, like grocery store clerks or barbers, who must deal with the public. It includes any group with which the mayor wants to curry favor.

It includes lawyers. Really? Lawyers?

You may think, well, lawyers need to meet clients and go to court, so they are exposed. You would be wrong.

The vast majority of lawyers rarely, if ever, go to court. And the Cook County courts are mostly meeting over Zoom these days. I have a lawyer-friend who loves it: no longer does he need to travel to suburban courthouses and then hustle back downtown for more meetings. He just puts up his law-library Zoom background and gets his routine appearances done in minutes.

Corporate lawyers have even less interaction with the public, or each other. They process paper in their downtown offices. Offices they no longer visit.

But lawyers are eligible for vaccines because they are "essential". "Essential", it seems, has taken a new meaning. It is no longer means those who keep us fed or respond to our emergencies. It now means "more valuable" in some social sense. People who contribute to society. People who are, you know, better.

Or wealthier. Another "essential" profession on the list is "finance". Anyone who works in one of these places is eligible for protection from Covid: "Banks; currency exchanges; consumer lending; credit unions; appraisers; title companies; financial markets; financial institutions; institutions that sell financial services; accounting services, and insurance services".

Ok, fine: bank tellers and currency exchange workers should get protection because they are exposed to the public. But I can't see any reason that anyone else on this list is special.

They’re only special because they have the means to make political contributions to the Mayor. See how that works?

A 30-year-old hedge fund manager can get a vaccine. His 64-year-old dog walker can’t.

So, who else is among the non-essential 16%?

As far as I can tell, the list includes:

  • The unemployed

  • Stay-at-home moms and dads

  • People in professions without clout

The sheer idiocy, and corruption, of the Mayor's policy is breathtaking.

Other places, like Florida, have made eligibility almost strictly age-based, and that makes sense. Covid strikes those who are older and in ill health.

Covid is not uniquely deadly to hedge fund managers, government employees, or college professors presiding over empty campuses, yet the Mayor says they are "essential".

Perhaps we should have a look at whether the Mayor herself is "essential".