February 11, 2022
Every day the local paper reports on the county’s Covid numbers — cases, hospitalizations, deaths. Rarely does the word “unvaccinated” appear. As though hiding that this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
Vaccines don’t completely block Covid, but greatly reduce risks. And vaccinated people who do get “breakthrough” infections are far less likely to suffer and die.* Those now filling hospitals, and graves, are overwhelminglyunvaccinated.
A February 2 New York Timesstory highlighted that America’s Covid death rate far exceeds that for other wealthy nations. Not until the fifth paragraph was this connected to our lower vaccination rate. And look at the language used: “The country has failed to vaccinate as many people . . . the United States has fallen even further behind in administering booster shots . . . the country’s faltering effort to vaccinate its most vulnerable people . . . “
All making it sound like it’s the government mainly at fault. Well, our health system does have a lot of problems that have hampered our Covid response. But at this point jabs are easily available for all takers. The real problem now is not a “faltering effort” or with “administering” shots, but so many fools who refuse them. Something the article weirdly sidesteps.
The Times also recently reported a poll showing vaccinated people worry more about Covid than do the unvaccinated. Even though it’s the latter in much greater danger. Yet it’s actually logical. People who fear Covid get vaccinated. Those who don’t don’t. (They are heavily Republican.)**
And both sides actually get things wrong. Those fully vaxxed and boostered face minuscule danger; they can dial down the worrying. Their fearfulness has driven policy mistakes, especially school closures, likely harming kids (causing mental health and education deficits) more than Covid would. The other group not only refuses vaccination but also opposes masking and other precautions, thus aggravating risks. Suicidally dumb — hundreds of thousands of them dead.
This is a tragic reflection of America’s political polarization and related epistemology crisis. Too many losing the common sense to discriminate between trustable information sources and liars and quacks. Those falling for all the anti-vax nonsense out there are largely the same fools suckered by Trump’s “stolen election” lie. And so much other nonsense — it’s a whole alternative-reality bizarro world.
Canada is convulsed by truckers protesting against sanity. Dear Abby recently had a letter from a woman whose wedding was ruined by family members stomping off angrily when masks were distributed. That’s how far the craziness has gone.
Some jerks refuse vaccination by invoking “natural bodily immunity.”*** Biologists they are not. Millions died like flies from a host of diseases (like smallpox) before vaccines were developed. “Natural immunity” my ass. Or some simply insist God will protect them. I recall a woman relating that her parents trusted in Christian Science rather than mainstream medicine. “How’d that work out?” I asked. “Badly,” she replied. “They died young.” America nears a million Covid deaths.
And I’ve had it with all the “freedom” nonsense. I’m a goddamned libertarian. But I stop at red lights — even though that restricts my driving “freedom” — because it avoids endangering people, including me. A society of laws and rules protects everyone. Those anti-vaxxers might as well be demanding the “freedom” not only to go around spreading infection, but also to ignore traffic lights — and, for that matter, to kill, steal, and rape.
These idiots are not only infecting others, they’re also crowding out hospital care for non-Covid problems — another cause of needless deaths. But meantime, there’s growing sentiment for kissing off the unvaccinated, and opting for a policy of going on with life, without restrictions, living with the virus.
* It seems the booster is what really fights omicron; vaccine protection otherwise wanes over time.
** The poll also showed younger people fear Covid more than older ones, even though the latter are more endangered. But they’re also more likely “conservative,” and that political stance drives attitudes toward Covid.
*** Though many take annual flu shots and other routine jabs without a second thought.