Conservative Anti-Vax Movement Straight-Up Killing People
COVID-19 patients are overwhelming the ER at Cox Medical Center South in Springfield, Missouri. Medical personnel are working extra shifts to keep up. It's July 2021, and these patients are all willingly unvaccinated. Many have died. They weren't all elderly or otherwise vulnerable. Dr. Howard Jarvis has treated patients in their 40s, 30s, even teenagers. Dr. Jarvis described a 50-year-old man who struggled to breathe and "couldn't stand up for more than 30 seconds from his illness."
None of these patients were vaccinated, which left them defenseless against the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19. There were more than 100 COVID-19 hospitalizations at Cox last week. They briefly ran out of ventilators at Mercy Hospital Springfield over the Fourth of July weekend, a tragic demonstration of America First ideology. Last week's 129 hospitalizations at Mercy Springfield were greater than in December at the height of the pandemic. The doctors and nurses are frustrated and pissed off. They thought this was behind us.
Dr. Jarvis said:
"Early on, there was only so much you could do to prevent yourself from getting it. Now, it's a really conscious choice that 'I don't need to get a vaccination.' There's a different level of frustration because we're seeing something that we really don't have to be seeing."
Thirty-nine percent of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest rates in the US. Springfield's Greene County is worse at 34 percent, according to state figures. The surrounding 19 counties are in the 20s. In McDonald County, in southwest Missouri, the rate is a pitiful 14 percent.
Meanwhile, as his constituents suffer and die, GOP Senator Josh Hawley attacks “Big Tech" and so-called woke culture on Twitter. There were multiple tweets in the past few weeks about fireworks, but not a single one encouraging Missourians to get vaccinated.
Retiring GOP Senator Roy Blunt at least has a pinned tweet from an April 29 where he suggested that Missourians at least "consider getting a vaccine."
I recently met with frontline workers around Missouri to hear how they are making communities safer and to encourag… https://t.co/nriMvoO1us— Senator Roy Blunt (@Senator Roy Blunt)1619732316.0
He said in an interview that he believed the “early reluctance to get a vaccine is going to move in another direction." Unfortunately, that other direction is not a sane one. Conservatives have collectively embraced an anti-vax position. Some of them are just morons, such as GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who last week implied that people can Crossfit the Covid away.
1. Actually Jen, people should take some health advice from me. As a former gym owner, I've helped countless peopl… https://t.co/NgYP3hFmwO— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸)1625665216.0
Some text from Greene's expert analysis on Twitter:
As a former gym owner, I've helped countless people lose weight, gain strength, and be healthy again. The number 1 risk factor for death from #COVID19 is OBESITY, at nearly 80%!
All the Biden admin cares about is jabbing people with vaccines that have not been FDA approved and have many reports of serious side effects and deaths. None of you care about actually helping people solve the BIGGEST risk factor that will kill them, which is OBESITY.
Look, if we fact-checked all this gibberish line by line, there wouldn't be room for any other posts today. We can confirm, though, that Greene once owned a gym. Everything else is just nonsense. Greene's fat-shaming aside, it's probably simpler to just get the damn vaccine instead of drastically altering your diet and hitting the gym, especially since you'll need your lungs to work out.
Last week, Tucker Carlson continued his disinformation campaign against vaccines, claiming efforts to improve vaccination rates are somehow the "greatest scandal of my lifetime by far," bigger even than the Iraq War, which Carlson supported at the time. He's presented the Biden administration's push for vaccinations as the government forcing people to “take medicine they don't want or need."
Carlson's viewers might not want the COVID-19 vaccine, but they very much need it. It's the exact opposite of Carlson's programming, which they might want but don't need.
Jake Tapper asks Dr. Anthony Fauci to react to the CPAC Texas crowd cheering that the government has been unable to… https://t.co/nK6REiDS1J— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona)1626009576.0
Republicans have callously chosen to oppose vaccination to own the libs. At "CPAC 2021: America UnCancelled" (and apparently unvaccinated), the know-nothing crowd cheered the fact that the government hasn't reached its vaccination goals. What they are cheering is needless suffering and death. Conservatives have often done this in the abstract, when they'd applaud Paul Ryan's domestic agenda, but literally whooping it up because Americans are foolishly exposing themselves to a deadly virus is far worse. As Never Trumper Charlie Sykes wrote for the Bulwark, Republicans are demonstrating a "depraved indifference to human life."
Tracy Hill, a nurse at Mercy Springfield, recalled how she wept for joy after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in December. She thought it was the "beginning of the end." Six months later, after watching another unvaccinated patient die, she weeps from anger and frustration.
I've cried at work in the bathroom. I've cried in my car. I cry to my family. What saddens me most is just always thinking about this is someone's life cut short, and it's so unnecessary.
Republicans, many of whom are themselves vaccinated, prance and preen at CPAC while spreading willful ignorance that's proving more lethal than any virus. “Depraved indifference" is almost too benign a description for their actions.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."