Professor Doron Dorfman Publishes on Masks v. Disability Accommodations in JAMA Health Forum
"Bans on COVID-19 Mask Requirements vs Disability Accommodations." JAMA Health Forum (July 2021). (With Mical Raz.)
As states lift mask mandates and align their public health guidelines with the newest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, a number of states have opted to implement outright bans on any attempts to require masking. While these bans run counter to the current CDC recommendations to continue masking at schools and during travel, these laws tap into deep-seated political beliefs about government mandates, a contested issue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law banning schools from implementing mask mandates1; Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting state governmental agencies from implementing mask requirements; and the Utah legislature passed a bill prohibiting mask requirements in schools, colleges, and universities.
These bans create a new conundrum for individuals who are immunocompromised. While they are encouraged to get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus with 1 of the 3 available vaccines in the US, the vaccines have been less effective in individuals with different categories of immunosuppression. While most of the studies have examined immune response and not clinical efficacy, these 2 outcomes are likely associated.
Accordingly, immunocompromised adults may be less fully protected from this virus. Although these individuals may not have required any specific prepandemic disability accommodations, they may now find themselves inadequately protected in their workplace where mask requirements are legally banned and there are no vaccine requirements ...