It’s clear now, we can’t get there from here.
Less than a year ago, the entire nation seemed to be champing at the bit to get access to a vaccine that would save our lives, our jobs and our world as we once knew it.
Somehow, the easy way out of the pandemic became an insane cause celebré for people who love Donald Trump or generally don’t like needing to be told to come out of the rain.
Long lines in February to get any of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine available have turned into failed attempts to cajole and bribe refuseniks into taking a shot.
It isn’t as if there’s a shortage of stories about hospitals turning people away because the beds are filled with vaxinaughts dying to get their turn to have a ventilator tube shoved down their throats.
Our neighbors to the north, in Gillette, Wyoming, are living the bad dream.
Less than 25% of the town has been vaccinated. Even the town hospital boasts only a 39% vaccination rate among doctors, nurses and other employees. The hospital’s chief medical officer says, that’s just the way it is.
“I’m a big believer in freedom of choice,” Dr. Attila Barabas told reporters in an Associated Press story The Sentinel ran this week. “I honestly think that’s a fundamental aspect of being an American. And I think mandates can be troublesome and can cause a pushback to some degree.”
Since when has personal “freedom” included taking the life of someone else, especially among conservatives?
Imagine the “blink, blink, blink” look of disbelief of these same extremists being told that the state will be ending DUI laws so as not to impinge on the freedom of those who don’t want to drive on public roads sober anymore.
There’s no law against getting drunk or even drinking yourself to death. As a society, though, we’ve decided it’s got to be against the law to victimize others by doing stupid things, like dragging your foolishness into public places.
Do shots until you puke, but keep it at home.
How in the world did we get to a point where a fringe minority gets traction arguing that they have a right to victimize everyone with a potential death sentence?
This isn’t about cold season and please sneeze into your elbow. It’s a deadly pandemic that has killed almost 700,000 Americans in just over a year and continues to kill more than 2,000 people across the nation every day.
This isn’t about freedom, it’s about sanity, or the lack of it. We live in the wealthiest, most scientifically advanced nation on the planet and in the history of the world. And thousands of people would rather take cattle dewormer or Clorox than a vaccine that is proved to be incredibly safe and effective.
Last week, state officials revealed that schools that abide by mask mandates and have high vaccination rates have far, far less incidence of COVID-19 disease and all the hell that comes with it.
This week, a story in the Colorado Sun revealed that after state health officials spent millions to make free and plentiful COVID-19 tests available to students and schools to keep infections out of classrooms and students inside of them, it turns out less than 1% of students are being tested under the program.
Stop the music.
Vaccination has basically stalled here in Colorado. “Freedom” fighters are suing school districts to prevent them from imposing mask mandates. At the same time, Colorado continues to fill hospital beds with COVID-19 patients, several hundred on any given day. About 20 people each day in Colorado die with COVID-19.
If the plan is to allow vaccine deniers to infect each other until they’ve all gotten infected, sick or dead, the plan is working perfectly, but too slowly.
The new pandemic moniker making its way across the intertubes is calling it “Red Covid” now. Polis and others call it a disease of the unvaccinated.
Not quite. The current strain of coronavirus can more easily infect some who are vaccinated, generally the most vulnerable of all of us. They’re the victims of people who value their own “freedom” over your life.
Tragically, elected officials from school boards to city councils to health departments to county commissions all the way up to the governor’s office refuse to step in with critically needed mandates to end the insanity, and the eternal spread of the virus.
While it’s important to keep pressing elected officials to act like elected officials, it’s more vital now to lean on employers, retailers, restaurants and other public venues to demand proof of vaccine or instant tests for everyone. If you don’t want to vax up before heading to the grocery store or pharmacy, stay in your car. The person whose life you threaten will bring your stuff out to you.
You have the freedom to drink alone, eat alone and build your own damn swimming pool.
But we can’t allow public health threats to freely behave like public health threats. With freedom comes great responsibility, for all of us.
I agree with Dr. Barabas. There will be push back.
So tell it to the judge and hope the person in the cell with you has had their shots.
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