Bridging the Divided

Viruses And COVID Vaccinations…..

The COVID-19 pandemic is winding down, in some places. Viruses need hosts to survive. Take away the host and the virus dies out. Some viruses are hardier than others and can live outside a host longer than others. Polio, for instance, has been eradicated for the most part – in the U.S. at least. Why was it easier to get rid of polio than it is COVID-19?

Polio is transmitted through human waste whereas COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. How a virus is transmitted and whether or not it can be transmitted from human to human, or from animals to humans plays a big role in eradicating it. Hand washing plays an important role in decreasing transmission of polio and COVID-19. Hand washing just makes sense overall.

Polio affected mostly children and adolescents, so there was little need to close businesses, borders, and there was no need for masking. Neither did people need to be told to social distance. There was enough fear to drive natural social distancing. Parents kept their children from mingling with others, especially during the summer months when many might have spent the day at the community swimming pool – a primary source of polio. 

No one was spared from COVID, however. Young and old alike contracted COVID – the elderly more significantly affected than younger age groups. The fact that COVID is a respiratory virus was really the driving force behind its rapid spread. We weren’t adequately prepared for its virulence, either. We are familiar with flu and more recent flu epidemics, and because COVID comes from the general category of coronaviruses, many believed it was just another flu. And, the need to mask, social distance, close businesses, etc. was misinterpreted as rights violations. Perhaps if it had been explained better, but hindsight is 20/20, right? Plus, currently, there is a general mistrust of government, so throw that in the mix, and we can see why people thought we were being duped. Facebook and other social media outlets were and continue to be a cesspool of conspiracy theories and misinformation driven by fear. Fear drives a lot of things in life. But, if it’s on Facebook, it must be true, right? Not necessarily.

Now we have the vaccine controversy. I think the media continues to stir the pot of fear throughout the nation. If we quit listening and responding and just got back to life, perhaps the media fearmongers would go away. Not likely, but I can dream. Vaccines overall are a good thing – some would vehemently disagree with me. Look what vaccines did for polio, for several childhood diseases. 

I am one of those that has concerns about the COVID vaccines – how rapidly they were developed and hit the market, how insanely they are pushed. And, I have concerns that halting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has more to do with money than actual concern for serious side effects. If there is any truth in media, we are being told there is a .006% chance of developing the rare blood clot disorder seen in 7 people, mostly women – 7 out of millions who have been vaccinated. What we aren’t being told is that all of the vaccines have shown similar side effects, and the same rare clotting disorder develops in many who contract COVID. So, the truth, if there is a truth here, is that it is far riskier to get COVID than it is to take the vaccine. 

Again, there is Facebook. Fear-mongering continues, and now it is about the vaccines. I was one of those foolish enough to submit an opinion about the vaccines in their early days, and believe me I got blasted. People I considered casual friends felt the need to fillet me. All I said was that I had concerns and didn’t want to be labeled ‘vaccine hesitant’ and lumped into the group of anti-vaccers, but apparently, that made me a bully. I didn’t say I wouldn’t get vaccinated at some point. I said I didn’t want to be lumped into a group who don’t believe vaccinations are necessary. No matter, I learned my lesson. Keep opinions off Facebook unless they are about the accepted narrative. Whatever. I am not a conformist, and anyone who knows me knows that. 

So, will we eradicate COVID-19? No, unfortunately, we will not, but that doesn’t mean we will be held captive in our homes and masked when we do venture out. In a typical flu year, there are about 25,000 deaths from flu. On average, there are 2500 deaths from COVID daily. We just need to get to the point where COVID is rare – when minor outbreaks occur in local areas and mitigation efforts need to be temporarily initiated again. And, we are headed toward herd immunity. That’s a good thing. 

What’s the takeaway? We have learned a lot. There is a lot more to learn. Get vaccinated, if you believe it’s the right thing to do, stop listening to the mainstream media, and research on sites other than Facebook…..

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