With COVID-19 spiking again, several transit and rail passenger agencies have issued vaccination mandates for employees.
Metrolinx has joined several other rail passenger agencies in requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, due in part to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. According to Worldometer, an organization that tracks COVID-19 data daily, we have almost reached the high levels we saw in April and May 2021. As of today, there have been 645,103 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States, a number that is rapidly approaching the total number of American deaths, 675,000, resulting from the 1918 pandemic. In addition, hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units are overflowing with COVID-19 patients.
In addition to Metrolinx, MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, and Amtrak are among those passenger agencies that have mandated vaccinations for their employees. Authorities say that the reason for the recent spike is a combination of the number of unvaccinated Americans, the more contagious Delta variant, and the refusal of many to wear masks. However, nearly all transit agencies in the United States require masks to be worn by passengers and crew while aboard trains and buses.
All of this comes after most transit agencies have completed their safety plans for fighting COVID-19 aboard vehicles, and resumed a full service schedule. Since the recent spike of COVID-19, mandatory vaccinations for employees seem to be the only change transit agencies have made to this point. If the situation continues to worsen, agencies may need to re-evaluate their COVID-19 protocols.