In March of 2022, the world will mark two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are COVID weary, we are tired of hearing about the latest variant, the need for vaccinations and boosters, and at some level, we fear life will never return to normal. I’m sure those caught in the midst of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic felt much the same.
The Spanish flu pandemic infected somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 million people, killed about 50 million, including 675, 000 in the US. Not unlike the modern-day pandemic, towns and cities shut down, and people distanced and masked. What they didn’t have was the technology to create vaccines and medications to limit the ability of the virus to cause severe, life-threatening infections. Eventually, the Spanish flu died down because enough people had been infected and the virus had a more difficult time finding suitable hosts. But, the Spanish flu was not eradicated, and COVID won’t be either. Viruses mutate, by nature, so remnants of the Spanish flu are present in the flu viruses of today. Likewise, COVID will continue to mutate, will eventually quiet down, and become part of the normal ho-hum flu season.
The other thing the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic didn’t have was mass media splashing fear and panic all over our TV, computer, and smartphone screens. Let’s face it, it’s getting old. Is anyone truly listening at this point? Probably not.
Now, the latest variant, Omicron, hit the scene and the alarm was sounded yet again. What do we know about it? Not much, except that those who have it were vaccinated, or vaccinated and boosted, and as far as we know, experienced mild symptoms. So is there cause for panic? Probably not. Viruses tend to target the very young, the very old, and the infirm. COVID-19 and its many variants do the same. I expect to see an uptick in cases, even deaths, during the winter months, just like we do during any given flu season. And, when temperatures warm again, the number of cases will decrease.
Do I think people should be vaccinated? Yes, especially those at highest risk. I also think the vaccine manufacturers continue to fan the flames of panic because they are making money and lots of it. I am not opposed to commerce, it’s the way of the business world. What I am opposed to is selling fear, and that’s where we are at the moment. And besides, we are hearing about a new pill that is in development to treat, or at least lessen the severity, of COVID-19. Sounds like it will work something like the anti-virals of today for the flu. I’m in favor of that.
And then there is the controversy about mandating vaccines. Should we? I think the current government went a bit overboard mandating practically every business in America. Some of us, especially those in the healthcare field, are used to vaccine mandates, but still many refused to get the COVID vaccine. I get it, kind of. Some that refused are caring for the sickest of the sick or those in long-term care facilities. Personally, I think frontline healthcare workers should be vaccinated, but like I said, that’s a personal opinion. Now we are seeing courts reversing the government’s mandate.
I understand objecting to vaccine mandates for most businesses. Typically vaccine mandates are not part of their work lives. What I vehemently objected to was likening the vaccine mandates to wearing yellow stars on their sleeves like the Jews were forced to do during WWII. Really? One of those protesting stated that very thing in a hearing in my hometown. A vaccine cannot be compared to the call for the eradication of an entire ethnic group. The comment was disgraceful, uncalled for, and totally inappropriate. He was reprimanded. Good.
So now what? Get informed, and not by the conspiracy theorists on Facebook and other social media sites. They are fear mongers, the same as those we see on the national news peddling fear about not getting vaccinated. Get vaccinated or don’t. It’s your choice. Wear a mask or don’t. Herd immunity will take over whether we vaccinate or not. And finally, stop fighting, judging, fear-mongering, and blaming. The bottom line is COVID is a virus. It will die down, eventually. That’s how viruses work…..