clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Imagine a crazy world in which people are utterly stupid about vaccines and their own health

They listen to the likes of Tucker Carlson. They believe there is a higher power looking out for them, like Donald Trump. It is the stuff of science fiction. It is mystifying.

It turns out that only one in four hospital employees in direct contact with COVID-19 patients has been vaccinated, and only about half of all nurses, writes Phil Kadner
AP Photos

Imagine that you are living at a time of a terrible pandemic. Let’s say more than 600,000 people have died in your country and millions worldwide. It’s a slow, suffocating death, often alone in a hospital, on a ventilator.

But there is hope. A vaccine has been created that is more than 90% effective. After an early panic among the population to get the vaccine, the shots become plentiful and there’s enough for everyone.

Yet less than 50% of the population gets fully vaccinated.

Millions of people simply refuse the shots because they believe the disease isn’t real, the statistics are phony, or that the government is trying to inject them with a deadly plague.

And so people die who need not die. The virus mutates. Young people, who were not becoming infected early on, begin showing signs of the disease. Though the vaccine initially drove the numbers down, nearly winning the war against the epidemic, the number of cases begins to grow.

Why? Because the people who did not get vaccinated are spreading the disease and getting sick. They refuse to wear face masks. They want life to return to normal and attend rock concerts, athletic competitions and large parties in bars and the homes of friends.

It turns out that only one in four hospital employees in direct contact with COVID-19 patients has been vaccinated, and only about half of all nurses.

Unvaccinated medical workers continue to care for even the sickest patients, raising concerns that they themselves are spreading the disease.

Finally, after more than a year, hospitals begin to tell their medical personnel that they must get vaccinated. Thousands of medical workers quit their jobs. Some file lawsuits. No one is going to tell them how to live their lives.

They’re willing to infect their family and friends. They are willing to spread the virus to other emergency workers. They are Americans and they have rights.

Scientific data indicates that if more people had received the COVID-19 vaccine early on, the spread of mutations such as the Delta variant would have been minimized. The death toll would not have been as great.

The chances of future mutations that kill even more people would have been be reduced.

Still, there are millions of people who don’t want to get vaccinated. It’s all lies, many claim. The data, the sickness, the death, the news stories and the official statements from the researchers and doctors at the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health — all lies.

They have heard the truth from the mouths of politicians, read alternative facts on social media and just have a gut feeling that the vaccinations are not a good idea.

People who have spent their lives battling infectious disease are baffled. The president and his staff seem almost powerless. The disease begins to mutate and spread more rapidly. The numbers of the sick and dying begin to increase.

To get people vaccinated, governments offer free vacations and tickets to concerts and sporting events. Some people get vaccinated then, but many more still refuse.

They are protected by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Fox commentator Tucker Carlson. Or they believe there is a higher power looking out for them, like Donald Trump.

It is impossible to convince them to change their thinking even as people die.

This is the stuff of science fiction. It is mystifying.

Imagine being dropped into a world where people act with such wanton disregard for the truth, willfully ignorant of the consequences of their actions.

They spread sickness and death.

There are those who will blame lab workers in a foreign country for the virus, but the fact is the disease is being spread today by Americans who just don’t give a damn.

pkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.