We now stand at over 530,000 deaths yet some people still believe COVID-19 is a hoax. This unbelievable stance will ultimately hurt our ability to achieve “herd immunity.” Politico reported that many accepted Trump’s word as gospel and now refuse to believe that coronavirus is a risk. These same people believe that the vaccine is some type of control device used by the government to take away their freedoms, which sounds like some QAnon foolishness. Part of living in a free society is being free to do as you wish; however, it should also impose some sense of fairness and community. In other words, is it fair to infect others because you choose to believe nonsense?
Now that President Joe Biden has ramped up vaccine distribution, many who were eagerly awaiting vaccination have been taken care of, and we are seeing how many people are refusing the shot. Mike Holmes, CEO of Scenic Reivers Health Services in Minnesota, spoke with Politico and agreed that they are battling hoax and government control believers. Many public health experts further believe that “the damage has been done,” but we cannot give up. We must somehow convince them they are wrong, or we will never eradicate this virus. This epidemic of foolishness endangers us all. The biggest problems seem to be in rural areas, especially in conservative states that refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Many of their hospitals have closed, and they have higher than usual insurance rates. As a result, few, if any, of them regularly seek medical treatment and, as Politico pointed out, have no medical providers they trust.
As if the hoax believers are not bad enough, you have the people who believe there are “unknowns” to taking the vaccine. Take Margaret for example, who agreed to an interview with Washington Post if they did not publish her last name. She is 80 years old and lives outside Tulsa. She wears masks, carries hand sanitizer, and uses drive-throughs rather than going inside of stores. She has multiple preexisting health conditions that would leave her in bad shape if she contracted coronavirus. However, she refuses to take a vaccine, saying that “there’s too many unanswered questions.” She also fears side effects like a headache. Margaret is a Trump-supporting Republican. Then, there is Steven from Georgia, a 43-year-old aircraft mechanic who caught the virus and did not experience major symptoms. “I don’t think it was the boogeyman they made it out to be.” It is well known that coronavirus impacts people differently; just because you do not have breathing problems and require ventilation does not mean that you cannot give it to someone else who will suffer major symptoms.
How are we going to eradicate this virus if we have people like these and the hoax believers who refuse the vaccine? Even after we get one, we will have to be wary of those who refuse. This is ignorant and selfish. People need to try — at least occasionally — to think of someone other than themselves.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years