There was a lot we didn’t know when the covid pandemic began its ravages in China then Italy and Iran in the first weeks of 2020. We learned enough quickly enough to know that it was a potentially catastrophic pandemic, as the president and other government officials were briefed at the time, blanching in the process.
We missed many steps. Preparation was dismal. The management of the three subsequent waves wasn’t better from a national perspective, even if there were a few relative state and local successes. The United States took on Covid like Howdy Doody taking on a Cat 5 hurricane. That’s why we’re mourning a year-long death toll that exceeds the Civil War’s.
But one of the immense successes was the vaccine. If Donald Trump got everything else wrong, he got that one right from the start. Even he knew it was the most effective guard against the virus and the best bet to keep society going. In vaccine terms, getting it done in nine months was little short of miraculous. It was the fastest-developed vaccine in history. That some of its versions are close to unfailing is even more remarkable.
Here we are 18 months later. We now know a lot more about Covid, which is also the single-most studied pathogen in the history of the world. Because of the intense study and the flood of papers about it every week, there’s been contradictions and confusion. That’s normal. It’s part of the scientific method. The occasional confusion has allowed people of bad faith to cherry-pick a study here, a paragraph there, to make cynical assumptions and flood social mierda with viral disinformation. It hasn’t helped that the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have issued at times conflicting messages and that the CDC was prey to political rather than scientific controls, or that this has continued to be a pandemic managed by 50 states instead of more centrally, like the war that it is.
Still, there’s also been irrefutable consensus about what works. Disinformation aside, we know that masks and distancing work. They don’t stop the spread but they reduce it significantly. We know that vaccines work. Again, they’re not perfect, some of them are less effective than others, especially against variants, but they still work to keep most people from getting badly sick or from dying. And we know that to prevent covid from continuing to mutate and control us, more than 80 percent of the total population must be vaccinated.
We’re not even at 50 percent. Not in the US, not in Florida, and just barely past that in Flagler. Authorities can jigger the numbers to exclude those under 18 all they want, they can also, as DeSantis is doing, hide the figures in Florida to pretend that things aren’t as bad as they are. But we’re not at herd immunity. This fourth wave proves it, and it is overwhelming hospitals again, especially in Florida.
The difference this time is that this fourth wave was preventable. Entirely preventable. We had the knowledge and the tools to prevent it. Some of us chose to let it happen. We know who you are. You are the TV and radio loud-mouths who fabricate false-flag conspiracies about the vaccine. You are the Republican politicians who continue to legitimize those messages or who, like our own governor, are busier punning slanders of Anthony Fauci than caring for Florida’s runaway infections his recklessness powered.
You are the local elected Republicans, some of you on local commissions, for instance, who–unlike Bunnell’s John Rogers, who described his covid ordeal on the radio this morning and publicly regretted not getting vaccinated–have had covid but refuse to say so out of cowardice, who say not a word about the vaccine’s importance. But you’ll still give us those blathering prayers for the dead at the beginning of your meetings instead of at least using your pulpit and adding a plea to get vaccinated to prevent some of these deaths. And you are the thousands and millions of people who continue to refuse to be vaccinated, to equate your liberty with your freedom to poison, and to proudly, glibly do so with the Constitution in one hand and a scythe in the other.
Sure there are those who have a legitimate reason not to be vaccinated. They are the vulnerable the herd must protect. And they should be respected. But that’s the 10, the 15 percent at most. Not the 50 percent.
So this fourth wave, these new restrictions, these real constraints on our freedoms, these hospitalizations, these grave illnesses and renewed scrolls of deaths: This is on you, the militantly unvaccinated, the disinformant, the virus’s collaborator. We know this now. The evidence doesn’t lie, though you still do. You are all in your own way knowing, malicious, criminals against humanity. You, who get to live so others may die, are the sleaziest generation.