A Quick Opinion: Should we mask up to save the anti-vaxxers?

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A Winters Express op-ed column

Tell me if I’m wrong on this one. When the COVID-19 virus first showed up 18 months ago, scientists weren’t exactly sure what it was and how to treat it. They had clues from past SARs viruses, so they told us to stop shaking hands (check), stay six feet apart (check), wear masks (check), don’t gather in crowds larger than 10 people (check) and wait for a vaccine (I was fighting to be first in line). Most of us believed the scientists and tried to be careful and behave ourselves. Some people believed lies on the Internet and decided that they weren’t going to wear masks, practice social distancing or get vaccinated. The Trump administration cut the red tape and vaccines showed up in record time. Seventy percent of Californians over the age of 12 have lined up to be vaccinated, but there are states where only 30 percent have stepped up to received their shot(s). Now, there is a mutation called the delta variant spreading throughout the non-vaccinated population, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. The vaccines worked better than expected with side benefits of lowering the chance of getting infected and being hospitalized. Of those getting infected and dying, less than one percent were in the vaccinated group. So the question is, why aren’t people getting vaccinated? And why are healthcare providers now asking us all to start wearing masks again? I feel sorry for those who can’t get vaccinated because of medical reasons, but I have no sympathy for those who have decided that they won’t get vaccinated, putting others at risk. Part of me thinks that Darwin was right and we should just stand back and watch to see what happens. If this delta variant is as contagious as they think, it won’t be long before most people will either survive the virus, end up in the hospital or in the morgue. The Center for Disease Control thinks that once 85 percent of the population is either vaccinated or had the virus, it will slowly go away. It will be like the flu, always around, but you hope that you don’t catch it. People are already trying to shake my hand to my chagrin, practicing social distancing is something I did last month, and flying around the country is back on my calendar. I’ll admit that I didn’t mind keeping my mask on in the airplane, but it was nice to take a break and lower the mask when they brought by water and crackers. I’ve flown twice this summer and each time I’ve watched to see if everyone was complying with the mask rules. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see anyone go crazy on the plane and get arrested. They still serve beer and wine on Alaskan Airlines, but Southwest is a dry flight. Whenever I see a newscast about someone going berserk on a plane, I wonder how much that person had to drink, either on the plane for while waiting for the flight. Southwest must have asked the same question. I’ll take a break from writing about COVID-19 for now and wait to see what happens next. I’m hoping that no one I know dies from a preventable disease. Have a good week.

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