Compounding COVID-19

Fulfilling mandates to ensure the “common good” and promote “the general Welfare,” America’s federal, state, and local governments formulate statutes which curtail or ban certain individual behaviors.  Some indict these jurisdictions with “taking away our freedom.”  The push and pull between group and personal rights energizes a major dynamic of governmental debate and policies.

The charge of curtailing or taking away personal freedom is valid.  Without a license I am not free to catch a fish or perform brain surgery.  Drivers and passengers are not free to wear or not to wear seatbelts.  Drivers are not free to ignore speed limits, traffic signs, and traffic lights.  Unlicensed pilots, lawyers, teachers, bus drivers, doctors, and dentists are not free to hazard “the general welfare.”  I am not free to take another’s property or life.  Americans are free to own and use firearms.  We see where that got us! 

We wrestle over our personal right to wear or not to wear a mask and to be vaccinated or not be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Research shows masks significantly limit aerial transmission of virus.  Ninety-five percent of those vaccinated against COVID-19 will not develop the disease, a handful will be hospitalized, a negligible number of these will die from the virus.  Today Americans unvaccinated against COVID-19 overwhelm ERs, ICUs and CCUs, drive doctors and nurses to Herculean efforts, and fill hospital beds, preempting treatment of less “urgent” but no less critical patients. 

Arguments against COVID-19 vaccination range from arguable to wacky.  Some believe the rush to develop vaccines leaves room for future negative consequences.  How long should we wait to be vaccinated?  One year, five, ten while, like a phalanx of combines on a Kansas wheat field, the pandemic mows us down?

On TV, a nurse said, “I’m careful what I put in my body.”  At the same time, based on hype and sketchy claims—Aunt Agnes’s neighbor cured her husband’s cancer with dandelion soup—many who scorn allopathic medicine lay down hundreds of dollars for untested, unproven diet “Supplements.”  What daily or weekly potions, does our nurse allow in her precious body?  How might parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who, sacrificed, sucked it up, and died “for the common good,” view some Americans cavalier, self-centered sense of entitlement?

A last-ditch rationale—which it’s not—argues that some “Deep State Conspiracy” plots to control and manipulate Americans.  Proponents present no scrap of credible evidence: no document, witness, testimony, supporting their draconian hypothesis. Who, how, why?  Someone, please explain. 

Since Edward Jenner, immunization has eliminated from human life scourges of Smallpox, Tetanus, Measles, Influenza, Hepatitis A and B, Rubella, Hib, Whooping Cough, Polio, Pneumococcal Disease, Rotavirus, Mumps, Chickenpox, HPV, and Diphtheria.

Threequarters of a century back ol’ Doctor Easley would descend on Ferron Elementary School to stab a two-inch-long needle, the diameter of pencil lead—Maybe he wiped it with alcohol between stabs—into cowering, frightened, crying first- through sixth-graders’ arms.  For a week the refrain was, “You bumped my sore or arm!”

Replete vaccinations ensure the health of Armed Service personnel.  They carry immunization certificates.  At the Oakland Army terminal, waiting transport to Korea, a Cholera shot left me aching and fevered for a week.   A year later, processing to come stateside, within ten minutes medics jabbed me three times in each arm!     

I am disappointed and alarmed by a seemingly increasing number of wimps and whiners who scorn rigorous medical research and clinical trials of vaccines proved 95% safe and effective.  Accepting the future suffering of tens-of-millions and deaths of hundreds-of-thousands of American because a tragically misguided, whining minority denies irrefutable facts and asserts “individual rights” over “the common good” is indefensible.

Do the right thing.  Wear the damn mask!  Get the damn shot!