PERRY: Lies and damned lies about masks, vaccines, the pandemic and ‘freedom’ are killing us in Colorado

In this Aug. 24, 2021, photo, security officer James White wears a mask as protesters hold signs during a Board of Education meeting in Castle Rock, Colo., to discuss the use of masks and other protective measures in Douglas County Schools. A federal judge issued a restraining order Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, against the suburban Denver county’s policy allowing parents to opt their children out of a mask mandate at schools, finding that the rule violates the rights of students with disabilities who are vulnerable to COVID-19. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via AP)

A milestone this week probably became the story of our lifetime, probably all of our lifetimes.

On Monday, Colorado health officials tallied 10,018 deaths across the state attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gruesome factoid came on the same day one year ago the United States administered its first non-trial vaccine against the pandemic. Also this week, the national death toll rolled past 800,000.

That was just the news. The story? Many of those deaths and millions more sickened by the virus, many for the rest of their lives, didn’t have to happen.

My childhood pal Artie Gonzales, who died just days after being sickened by the virus, almost certainly would not have died had he been able to move up in line to get a vaccine last March.

My journalism school alum Laurence Washington would most likely still be here if he’d been able to get the vaccine before he was exposed to the virus and fell mortally ill at the first of the year.

But as tragic as all our earlier losses were to the pandemic, it’s the losses that have come after that are so obscene.

They didn’t have to happen. They don’t have to happen. They’re going to keep happening because of endless lies and disinformation that leaves millions of scientists, health professionals and the generally cognizant absolutely baffled.

In what was probably close to a real, live, get-the-Vatican-on-the-phone kind of miracle, just months after the pandemic virus was identified, America had a safe, working vaccine for it.

This really happened. I was there.

Just a few months later — after it was proven safe, after it was proven effective — we were able to give out the first dose a year ago. Then, the nation steamrolled enough for everybody just a few months after that.

“Proven” is the key word here. It’s the same kind of proof that gets space ships loaded with humans into the void of space and back again, safely. It’s the same kind of proof that almost everyone in the country runs toward when they get cancer, diabetes, a hernia, or even strep throat.

But because the nation has also been infected with Trump, failed science classes, Fox News, social media and myriad other maladies, a big enough swath of the state, and the nation, refuse to vaccinate and wear masks. And so our friends, neighbors and loved ones will just keep right on dying from COVID-19.

If ignorance, stupidity and stubbornness were a crime, the prisons would be even more overloaded than Colorado’s hospitals and ICU units. Sadly, we continue to allow the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to impose the death penalty on the innocent and the naive.

This week, The Sentinel Editorial Board took Gov. Jared Polis to task for comments he made publicly about the pandemic “emergency” having ended (it has not ended) and for his continued dodging responsibility for a statewide mask mandate.

The editorial generated a mountain of comments, many of which signal what humanity is up against as misinformation, disinformation, lies and the ludicrous virally infect the minds too many.

Here are a few choice comments illustrating why the pandemic remains a deadly pandemic.

Misinformation: @JustAMom0610 — You cannot be serious with this: ‘Masks are not attire. They are medical devices proven to slow the spread of a pandemic …’ So we can buy proven medical devices at Old Navy now? Got it.

Reality: The CDC and WHO have repeatedly proven that those infected, knowingly or not, wearing cloth or paper masks reduce the spread of their infection by about 50%, possibly more.

Misinformation: @HalllEvie —  I’ve known at least a handful of people who got covid while masked and vaccinated, (masks) should be optional at this point.

Reality: Masks primarily protect others from infection, not the wearer. Had your “handful” of people been around others infected but masked, they would have been far less likely to become infected themselves.

Misinformation: @markmueller0 — (The pandemic) has been over for awhile. As The governor said, it’s not their job to mandate what people wear. This is the last effort of those who have always wanted this to be the norm for years before covid.

Reality: It is the job of the state to protect the public’s health. Local health officials have pleaded with the governor to impose a needed mask mandate. The local politics of this make compliance nearly impossible. The lack of a state mandate is primarily what has destroyed the Tri-County Health Department and will now cost taxpayers millions.

Disinformation: @BradyHaynes7 — Good! Folks starting to act like adults again. If people are so terrified that they think they need a mask, they should go ahead and wear one. It’s up to YOU to protect yourself. No one has the right to strip away someone’s autonomy because they’re scared. That’s ridiculous.

Reality: Masks protect others when infected people go into public places. While anti-maskers make it seem that it is they who should choose to not wear a mask while possibly infectious, they are actually choosing to infect, sicken and even kill innocent people whose only choice it is to quit their jobs and hide at home, or risk infection, illness and death.

Disinformation: @Bubba3310 — Cloth and paper masks do not stop respiratory viruses. It’s called science.

Reality: They actually do. Credible science has proven that for decades. There’s a reason physicians and nurses wear paper masks in hospitals and operating rooms. They work to protect others.

Misinformation: @KoshkaRoo — (Polis is) one of the few democratic governors speaking common sense. People who need to wear masks can continue to do so, majority of people are safe – we have vaccines and treatments – that’s our new normal.

Reality: Masks protect others from people who are in public and infected. The majority of people are not safe around infected people, especially, it appears, from the omicron variant. The vaccines and treatments so far have not kept Colorado hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and may fail if the infections become even worse.

Misinformation @TraciAndreas — Wear one if you want. Nobody is stopping you. You act like you need Daddy Governor to give you permission.

Reality: We need “Daddy Governor” to force people to wear masks in public so they do not infect others, knowingly or not.

Disinformation: @Dopebeatsdotnet — None of us are doing that anymore. Didn’t you get the memo?

Reality: Every county except Douglas County in the metro area currently has an indoor mask mandate, despite Polis’ refusal to impose one statewide. But without tougher compliance regulations, it may not work to reduce infections and the flood of patients into area hospitals.

Lie: @CatahoulaLD — Masks are ignorant. Like the people who think they work against a virus.

Reality: Masks are proven over and over, using credible scientific methods of study, to reduce the rate of infection during an airborne virus pandemic, and subsequently, reduce sickness and deaths. Scientists and researchers not only have no reason to press false information into the world, but it would be anathema to their training and constitutions. Every credible doctor in the nation presses people to get the vaccine and follow proven anti-disease protocols because they work.

Disinformation: @007Guyver — Many have lost all perception of risk but that’s their problem.  When rules are worthless and unjust, we are not only right to disobey them, we are obligated to do so.

Reality: This is not a war. No one’s rights are impinged. This is not a political problem. It’s a pandemic. It’s a microorganism that is incredibly efficient at invading the human body and using it to reproduce and spread to other human hosts, primarily by breathing. In doing so, it has killed 10,018 Colorado residents so far, more than 800,000 people across the country, and millions more have been sickened, many of them disable for the rest of their lives. No one has the “right” to purposely or thoughtlessly sicken and kill others.

Disinformation: @sburke85 — Masks don’t do anything except maybe make you feel good.  There is very little we can do about COVID.

Reality: The data, collected and reviewed scientifically, is unequivocal. Vaccination, masks and social distancing greatly reduce the risk of spreading infection. Vaccination greatly reduces the risk of hospitalization and death. Because of attitudes and viral commentary like this, much of it prompted by irresponsible political leaders and right-wing propaganda news sources, we have watched an opportunity to harness or outright end the pandemic slip through our fingers. It is however, not too late to vaccinate, mask up and end the worst part of the pandemic, rather than listen to people like this and perpetuate the pandemic for many more months, and even, possibly, years.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

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1 month ago

Please, anti-vaxxers and ‘freedom fighters’ refusing to wear masks, keep doing what you’re doing and continue to cull the herd so COVID will become endemic sooner by getting you out of the gene pool.

1 month ago

Nice try Dave. I’m sure non vaccinated Auroran’s will jump right up to do the right thing for us all now.

Or, non vaccinated are just tired of hearing all the jabber and never got past through the first few words.

1 month ago

Curious if the virus will never be never eradicated, as appears to be the case, and inoculation will protect the vast majority, as it appears to, do you suggest masking and social distancing should be the new normal?

1 month ago

Least racist article yet

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
1 month ago

At the beginning of our entry into World War II, citizens in Eastern coastal areas were subject to mandatory blackout curtains. These were meant to make it difficult for German bombers to spot populations they could then bomb. In Boston, the city of my birth, the gold dome of the state capitol was covered in black in order to frustrate enemy bombers. It was a hassle, but people didn’t complain. Unlike today’s antimaskers and antivaxxers, they didn’t want to die. They recognized a threat when they saw one.

Later, the nation was subjected to rationing in order to save precious resources for the war effort. Not everyone was pleased, of course, but compliance was widely accepted for the good of the people. Because we were Americans anxious to safeguard our fellows. Unlike today’s antimaskers and antivaxxers, they didn’t want to die. They recognized a threat when they saw one.

There have always been contrarian cranks, of course. But they usually have not sought to actively endanger the citizenry. That has changed, and not for the better.

Anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers care nothing for the good of the country. They are part of the “Make me!” idiocracy, people who have divined some mythical “Constitutional right” to endanger the people. This is libertarianism gone insane (as if libertarianism wasn’t insane enough) And they are almost all fans of a sociopathic narcissist who would cheerfully step over their dead bodies if it meant more glory and money for him. Do unto others” is now “do unto others, but not me!”

Face it: the antimaskers are selfish babies who care not two cents for anyone else. They are, as I have said before, part of the modern mantra of “Screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine!” They are the functional equivalent of two-year-old spoiled brats. If they were only killing themselves, I would hardly care. The selfish and the suicidal are undeserving of our concern. But they are killing us, so they are in fact traitors. They are making war on the sane us, and that cannot be tolerated. I am past the point of caring if they die: good riddance to bad rubbish.

But they are killing others. And that’s murder, not suicide.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Couldn’t agree more…. To follow that train of thought, it should be our “right” to go to a bar, get blitzed, and then hop into our cars and drive home. We don’t allow that, right? And why not? Because it puts everyone else in danger. This is the exact same issue. As you said, if they were simply killing themselves, it’d be unnecessary and unfortunate, but so be it. But when their willful ignorance jeopardizes others around them, they are no different than the drunk driver.

And, because of their choices, they have pushed hospital capacity to the max. How many people can’t receive non-Covid care right now because the hospitals are full with unvaccinated Covid patients? The hospitals should change that policy too… can’t prove your vaccinated? Then you go to the LAST of the line to treat. All the non-Covid cases and/or those who are vaccinated go to the front of the line. Reap what you sow.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

The selfish and the suicidal are undeserving of our concern. But they are killing us, so they are in fact traitors. They are making war on the sane us, and that cannot be tolerated. I am past the point of caring if they die: good riddance to bad rubbish.”

The feeling is mutual, Jeff. You’re not human, you’re the enemy. And I can’t wait for the day when our side gets the chance to finally grind yours into powder.

Mr Wonderful
Mr Wonderful
1 month ago

You are so tedious and agenda driven that I try not to listen to anything you say.

1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Wonderful

And yet you’re here, reading and commenting on these opinion pieces. Brilliant.

Jackie A
Jackie A
1 month ago

My Constitutional right to Life trumps anyone’s right to Liberty in their pursuit of
“purposely or thoughtlessly” kill me.
That, friends, is why Life appears before Liberty in our Constitution.
Without one you can’t have the other. 

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jackie A

“Life” and “liberty” appear in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

The Constitution is a governing document that is legally mandatory. The Declaration of Independence is a declaration of war, and has no mandatory authority.

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
1 month ago

The public health folks need to take a hard, sober look at the damage they’ve already done to the government’s credibility with pedaling scientific theories as facts and for repeatedly moving the goal posts.

And Dave, your sky-is-falling rhetoric isn’t helping your credibility either. Not one mention of the tremendous strides recently announced on anti virals for example.

The governor simply read the writing on the wall. I’m not a supporter but I give credit when it’s certainly due.