Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Friday, August 20, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 87˚F (31˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 56% and a becalmed wind, the feels-like temperature is 96˚F (37˚C). Today we are back to the typical summertime pattern in Florida. The forecast calls for thunderstorms to move through our area. The high will be 94˚F (35˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers. The low will be 75˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 48, or Good.
Well, here we are, 18 (or is it 19) months into the COVID-19 pandemic – this thing has lasted so long that I’ve lost track – and I’m still nonplussed by the sheer idiocy of many of my fellow humans.
I mean, seriously. We have known since February of 2020 that the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 is airborne and transmittable human-to-human. We know it is harmful and affects the respiratory system in unpleasant ways. We know it can kill people; so far, over 4 million men, women, and children have died from COVID-19, including over 600,000 Americans.
We also know that there are steps we can all take minimize the chances of being infected, passing it on to others, or dying. In the beginning of the pandemic, before vaccines were available, we learned that we could:
- Wear masks
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid large gatherings and limit activities such as food shopping at grocery stores and supermarkets
And since late last year, several Big Pharma companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, and Moderna, have rolled out vaccines. Some require one injection; others require more than one “Fauci Ouchie” to be efficient. The vaccines are not a panacea – some people can still get sick even if they “got the jab,” but even then, they don’t get as sick as unvaccinated individuals, and their chances of needing to be hospitalized or, worse, dying are infinitely smaller than those of anti-vaccine idiots.
We know all of this because medical professionals, government agencies, and journalists in responsible news outlets publish all sorts of helpful information about COVID-19. Its cause and effects, and – crucially – how to avoid being infected by SARS-CoV-2.
And yet, I keep seeing news stories on my Facebook timeline about people who knowingly refused to get vaccinated, got sick, and died. Often, these stories end with a twist along the lines of Before he died, Mr. Scoffalot said, “I made a mistake by not getting the vaccine, and now I’m dying.”
And, because Donald Trump made of COVID-19 a partisan political issue instead of treating the pandemic as a public health crisis that required decisive, clear-headed action, I still see stories such as this popping up on my timeline:
Texas is facing a tipping point in the state’s battle with COVID-19.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is fully vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 this week as deaths in his state from the coronavirus have more than doubled in the last two weeks and hospitals have reached capacity.
While Abbott suffered a relatively rare breakthrough infection, less than half the state’s total population is fully vaccinated against the virus, putting them at heavy risk of getting COVID-19. – The Hill, Friday, August 20, 2021
Or how about this one?
A fully vaccinated man who resided in a Florida retirement home died from COVID-19. His daughters wrote an obituary urging people to get vaccinated and blame the state for his life ending.
Clark Allen died on July 22 after contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19, a “one-in-a-million” chance, according to the man’s doctor.
The surviving daughters of Allen, Danielle and Nicole Allen-Gentile, expressed their anger in an obituary about how their father could have been infected and said his death was preventable, The Washington Post reported.
“He was infected by someone who chose to not get vaccinated and his death was preventable,” the obituary reads. “It is the wish of his family that everyone get vaccinated in order to prevent further death, sickness and heartbreak.”
The daughters also told The Washington Post that if their father were in a different state, they believe he wouldn’t have died.
During the pandemic, Danielle and Nicole — along with their five siblings — debated whether Allen should be in an assisted living home in Florida or Connecticut. The daughters received a blunt message from a Connecticut home: “You need to get him out of Florida. He will die in Florida,” The Washington Post reports. – The Hill, Friday, August 20, 2021
And, of course, in the comments sections of these articles on Facebook, I still see the usual garbage from anti-mask, anti-vaccine idiots who think that they know more than virologists and epidimiologists.
A woman named CW left this politically-motivated bon mot in the comments section of the “Texas tipping point” article:
Shame on every one blaming Texas after being bombarded with illegals they have more than they can handle how would every one like to have them dumped on you
EL, a Texas resident, wrote a clear-eyed, logical reply:
CW, I live in Rio Grande City, Starr county. The southmost part of Texas.
We’re doing just fine. Illegals aren’t infecting anyone because we have 5 miles of brush and field between us the river and over a 1000 BP, National Guard, Texas rangers, city, and county police officers doing their job.
CW, also, Abbott refused to accept federal funds to ramp up testing and vaccinations for these folks.
On that same thread, another woman, CRK, addressed CW, who is – obviously – a Republican fan of both Donald Trump and Texas Gov. George Abbott:
Shame on YOU for making excuses for the anti mask / anti vax people who are NOT doing everything they can to mitigate the virus spread.. Shame Shame
Even if you could connect a big number of hospitalizations, severe cases and death to illegals, that does NOT excuse a vaccination rate of less than 50%.
It does NOT excuse all the people who don’t want to wear mask.
It does NOT excuse people going about their daily lives WITHOUT being cognizant of the fact that we are in the middle of mitigating a PANDEMIC.
They don’t even want to protect their children with mask in schools for crying out loud.
Until the MAJORITY of Texans step up and do everything THEY can do to mitigate the virus, you do NOT get to blame anyone but THEM.
They want to run around unvaccinated and maskless without any impulse control FINE but by doing so they aren’t even trying to solve the problem. Their FAULT
When they at least try to help themselves, I’ll have some sympathy.
Here’s CW’s oh-so-witty reply:
Far be it from me to Tell any one you Have to get it or you better get it, they still have that right to choose for them selves, I know people right now that have gotten and have it right now so it’s up to every one what they need to do, I don’t get flu shot that my choice far more people die with the flu
Another Facebook member, JA, responded to CW’s “that my choice” comment thusly:
the flu killed 52,000 in the highest recent year in this country.
That many people have died of Covid in Texas alone.
Of the thousands of people who died in last six months in the Lone Star State, only 43 weren’t vaccinated.
I checked out CW’s Facebook profile, and sure enough, she fits the profile of a die-hard Trump fan. Her profile picture is that of an elderly white-haired woman past retirement age, smiling at the camera from behind wire-rimmed glasses. Basically, she’s the perfect image of a conservative white, Christian, Republican-leaning woman from Texas.
I don’t know CW in person, obviously, and I’m sure that she is probably a sweet, generous person. Obviously, her children and other relatives love her and her late husband, and she’s obviously a big supporter of law enforcement, at least from what little I can see from her Facebook profile. She’s probably nice to the people she meets – either online or in person. That is, unless you are a liberal, Democratic-voting person who does not like Trump and wants people to do the right thing when it comes to vaccines, wearing masks when you’re out and about with other people, and practice social distancing as best as possible.
It’s mind-boggling, really – not to mention depressing – to see that 18 (or 19) months into a global pandemic that has killed millions of people, there are still those who live by the mantras “Faith over fear,” and “Vaccines and masks should be optional.”
You’d think that in the United States of America – “the greatest country in the world” – we all could have united to face this threat to the nation as enthusiastically as we did after Pearl Harbor in 1941 or, more recently, the September 11 terrorist attacks 20 years ago.
Alas, this did not happen, partly because many of our fellow citizens were already anti-vaxxers because of a now-debunked “study” that supposedly linked childhood vaccinations to autism, but mainly because the previous President was a political neophyte who ran for the White House in 2016 to boost his expansive ego and ended up leaving office seven months ago with the U.S. in far worse shape than when he was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
And because Trump supporters still behave like cult members, they still repeat his anti-immigrant spiels as though they were the Gospel.
Such is life in the U.S. in the time of COVID-19.
Texas faces tipping point as COVID-19 spreads (The Hill, Friday, August 20, 2021
Vaccinated man dies in Florida, daughters share their anger and urge people to get vaccinated (The Hill, Friday, August 20, 2021)