The DeSantis variant of COVID-19

some have good sense

DeSantisSomeone suggested “the DeSantis variant”, and I’m not remembering who.

After I got my second dose of the Pzifer vaccine on March 24, I felt…liberated. It wasn’t that I thought the pandemic was over, but that it was ending in the United States sooner rather than later. The country had a sufficient amount of vaccines, enough to send to countries that didn’t have access, through WHO’s COVAX program.

Then the new vaccine numbers plummeted, and infection rates went up, first in the South and Midwest then everywhere. What I saw on the television, of medical personnel turning cafeterias and parking lots into extra COVID-19 beds. But this was different than last year at this time. Many of these folks were frustrated. And a lot of them were ANGRY.

Most of them DIDN’T say, “You dummies! You’ve brought this on yourselves!” But it was, in several cases, the clear subtext. Patients, or their families asking, begging for the vaccine as people suffer through the effects of the condition.

Some people who didn’t get injections I cut a lot of slack for. Pregnant women who worried about the side effects. The immunocompromised who are going to need that third dose.

“Freedom”

But the argument that people who aren’t getting the vaccine only are harming themselves is simply not true, despite the panoply of articles being sent to me by someone I’ve known most of my life. (It also includes info about the stolen election, the persecution of the Pillow Guy, and minimization of the Holocaust, so I’ve deigned to filter them out.)

Those folks not getting vaccinated are Petri dishes making the population, i.e., ME more likely to become sick with a variant of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, governors such as Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have, in the name of “freedom”, banned school districts in their states from a vaccine and/or mask mandates, though some districts are ignoring them. What about the freedom to keep people safe and healthy?

Dr. Rob Davidson is looking to understand. “I don’t blame my patients for their refusal [to get vaccinated.] What breaks my heart, as someone who took an oath to prevent harm, is that my patients choose to abandon the science and evidence that can save their lives. I do blame Fox News and other right-wing media outlets for poisoning the minds of millions of Americans with the deceptive propaganda they spray into living rooms 24/7.”

Patience lost

True enough. Yet, despite my desperate attempt to try to “see the other side,” I’m just not able to do it anymore. Don’t have it in me. These people are, if I’m being totally honest, infuriating me. Thoughtless privilege. Cognitive distortions. And since I can’t just scream at them – it would do no good anyway – it leaves me in a state of melancholy. I have what Mark Evanier calls “The Springtime for Hitler” look at anti-vaxx/anti-mask efforts in our country.

DeSantis, in particular, irritates me, with his posturing to grab hold of the Trump voters when he presumably runs for President in 2024. He’s threatening to withhold salaries from district superintendents who mandate masks in schools. At least I can yell at him when I see his smirk on the TV. I’ve renamed the Delta variant the DeSantis variant; use in good health.

The vaccine could save us if we let it. But as we go backward in the fight against COVID-19, I can hold onto the fact that at least most of my friends and relatives have the good sense to protect themselves, and me. Especially me.