Some things really just shouldn’t be political. I understand that the American culture has become all about marketing, attention keeping and preaching to the choir, but when it comes to public health it seems like we should call a timeout. We really need our public health officials to just level with us about the latest COVID-19 studies and stop treating us like naïve children.
Before there was a vaccine available to combat COVID-19 it made perfect sense to mask up, isolate ourselves, and take every possible precaution to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. After all, we just didn’t know too much about the possible impact on people or on our society at large. Two years later, with safe, proven, FREE vaccines available on every city street corner, we can have an adult conversation about choices, consequences and the government’s role in protecting us.
Since June 2021, 99.8% of America’s COVID-19 deaths have been people who were unvaccinated. Among those, 78% were overweight or obese and 75% were over the age of 65. In addition, the efficacy of wearing facial coverings has come under significant scrutiny as studies begin to show evidence that is contrary to what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us. Add this to the tendency for a certain percentage of America’s media to invent their own facts and it’s getting difficult for rational, science-minded people to make responsible decisions.
Rather than get into what would have been a useless debate, we wished him well and went on our way. There we were, two vaccinated adults, one over 65 and one (me) 50, one who got COVID-19 and recovered fully and one (me) who has never had it, but somehow our friend’s conclusion was that despite his own poor health we were going to die from the vaccines we received while he was doing the right thing by taking horse medicine.
This entire situation is a microcosm for what’s happening on a grander scale in the United States, and explains why a growing number of Americans polled believe we are headed for another civil war. We have made absolutely everything political, and politics has become essentially a game of high stakes football. The blue side has to bash and pummel the right side into a bloody pulp and vice versa. The real victims in this game are not the politicians, but the people they are supposed to represent who get lost in the shuffle.
America is not a sophisticated society, and this is only exacerbated by the fact that we no longer have legitimate news sources we all watch and trust presenting a trustworthy, unified message. What one believes is largely defined by what one chooses to watch, including which flavor of news. President Joe Biden has been presented with more challenges than the typical first-year President, ranging from fighting the pandemic to the increased severity of natural disasters due to climate and aggression from both the Chinese and Russians on different fronts. On this issue, however, he might be able to gain some traction if he just levels with the American people.
Even the most doting parent has to, at some point, let go and hope their children make responsible decisions. Everyone who wants a vaccination against COVID-19 can get one. Everyone who wants a mask can get one. Each person can make the decisions they feel are in their own best interest, like my friend who is suffering because he took horse medicine instead of a real vaccine. Was that a smart decision? No. Is he hurting anyone besides himself? Nope. Even if they are victims of bad information, it’s because they victimize themselves with their choices.
The Biden Administration has done what it can do for us, now it’s time for the American people to determine their own fates. The President should reiterate the stakes, the science – the actual science – and then remove governmental restrictions designed to protect people from themselves. Everyone can get vaccinated, even a vaccine for children – who do not represent a significant number of cases – is coming. Present the true data about masks and leave it up to each person to decide how best to protect their own health. After all, heart disease killed more than twice as many people as COVID-19 last year but we don’t have daily body counts or new restrictions to stop people from contracting what is a much more deadly and infinitely more preventable disease.
Maybe if this entire issue hadn’t become a political football more people would be paying attention to the common sense advice coming from the medical experts. It would also help if the medical experts were being honest with the American people about the realities of the pandemic and how best to avoid and treat it. As it is, the best thing to do would be to let us fend for ourselves. After all, life is always about choices and consequences.