If We Don’t Let Unvaccinated Health Care Workers Infect Sick People, Did We Ever Love Them At All?
Professional terrible person Laura Ingraham usually scares her Fox News audience senseless about issues that mostly don't exist, like migrant caravans and Black zombie hordes attacking our cities. However, she keeps insisting that the COVID-19 pandemic is no big thing. The liberal media and tyrannical medical community are just lying to you for ... well, that part's less clear.
Last night, on her white power hour, Ingraham showed clips from March 2020 when politicians and the press explained that social distancing and lockdowns were necessary to slow COVID-19's spread and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. She mocks this sentiment now from a distance of 18 months but in reality, New York hospitals had experienced an "apocalyptic coronavirus surge" by mid-April.
It slowly becomes clear what Ingraham's angle is here: The godless Left “claimed" to love frontline health care workers until we ditched them like our geeky friend in high school. We've suddenly turned on health care workers because we want them to get vaccinated against the same virus that they valiantly fought last year. This doesn't seem like an unreasonable request, but Ingraham disagrees.
INGRAHAM: But now that some nurses and first responders are resisting the vaccine mandates, it becomes clear that those emotional words meant nothing. Now that healthcare workers threaten the Left's COVID power grab, they've gone from frontline heroes to public health menaces.
What's actually happened is that hospitals are setting basic health standards for their employees, so that their staff and patients don't catch a now-preventable illness. These vaccine mandates are consistent with caring about “frontline heroes," most of whom don't want to die stupid deaths (my least favorite kind).
Ingraham claims that hospitals are firing healthcare workers from “coast to coast," maybe even from sea to shining sea, because they won't comply with vaccine mandates or wash their hands (I tend to link the two in my mind). She's right that this is occurring, but she's overstating the impact. Granted, the media is helping her out. A recent Washington Post headline stated: "N.C. hospital system fires about 175 workers in one of the largest-ever mass terminations due to a vaccine mandate."
Oh, no, it's a bloodbath ... if just 200 people work in the North Carolina hospital system. The 175 workers who were fired account for barely 1 percent of the system's roughly 35,000 employees. Most unvaccinated workers chose to comply with the mandate because mandates are effective at picking up where common sense left off.
Ingraham laments that this small percentage of dullards are being forced to choose between "taking a vaccine they don't want or being fired from the job they love." The vaccine isn't the cake they serve in the breakroom for a coworker's birthday. That cake's almost always bad but it's fine to turn it down or just nibble on the corner politely because it's not literally a life-saving vaccine. Ingraham says, "Many report having antibodies to the virus due to past exposure." Goddamnit, even I know that supposed “natural immunity" isn't as effective as the vaccine. Maybe the vaccine mandate is like a pop quiz for health care professionals, and we're weeding out the fools.
INGRAHAM: Of course, we now know that when they say the hospitals though are being overwhelmed, it's almost always a lie. With the exception of a few big city hospitals in the US, our hospital system was stretched for sure but it was never overwhelmed.
This statement doesn't just stretch the truth. It overwhelms us with lies. South Carolina hospitals reported more than 85 percent of the state's staffed ICU beds were full in September, and 43 percent of those people were COVID-19 patients. Lexington Medical Center had 169 patients hospitalized with COVID at its hospital on September 8 and 152 of them (89 percent) were unvaccinated.
The hospital system, as well as the general public, remains at greater risk from the unvaccinated than from vaccine mandates. And that's the true crisis Ingraham wants her viewers to ignore.
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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."