Covid rage

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 8, 2021, 5:02 PM | comments: 0

Things sure got weird again in the last few weeks, as Covid has made a serious comeback. In fact, in places like Florida, it has never been worse. Here in Orange County, we're producing more cases than any time in the pandemic, and our hospitals have never been this full. Understandably, those of us who did the work and got vaccinated as soon as we could, are kind of pissed. It's even more discouraging if you have kids under 12, as the vaccines haven't been cleared for those age groups. As indoor mask mandates return in places, it's not that the vaccinated are particularly at risk themselves, but they may play the role of transmission vector, causing the unvaccinated to get sick. A little rage seems pretty reasonable for a situation that was completely preventable.

I have tried to look at the situation as objectively as possible, and it's hard not to focus on the usual band of white nationalists and anti-science dipshits that suck a disproportionate amount of air out of the room (and replace it with Covid-rich CO2, apparently). You know the people, those who think that everything is a conspiracy, the existence of snow negates climate change, the brown people are at fault for everything and your freedom is conceptually at odds with being a good citizen. That they would be against vaccination isn't that surprising, because aside from being big babies about getting a shot, they're skeptical because government organized the vaccination effort, and government is bad. They lean on the Reaganesque distrust while ironically demanding that only they are qualified to lead the thing you shouldn't trust.

This is why it can be so infuriating, because if you think government is useless (unless it involves military spending, of course), you should be surprised that this was a huge obvious thing that it got right, in a big way. Every human 12 and over in this country is eligible to dodge this horrible disease and reduce its transmission to a rounding error if everyone does it. Mind you, the initial federal plan was to let the states figure it out, but distribution improved pretty quickly in the spring.

Digging into the numbers, these conspiracy driven freaks are of course not a majority of those not vaccinated, though they certainly make it worse by spreading misinformation. There have been countless articles calling out the youth who think they're invincible, the mansplainers who are really just scared to get a shot, and those generally categorized as willfully ignorant about science. But a large number are also people in parts of systems that were already failing them.

Mistrust of the healthcare system itself is a huge problem. Several studies note that the uninsured, insured by crappy benefits or otherwise previously screwed by the insurance/healthcare system are among the most likely not to be vaccinated. Many are worried about the possible day of minor symptoms that often come with the shot, because they can't take off work and risk being fired. Minority communities are naturally skeptical of anything government provided, because the same government can't own up to inequality, or worse, won't correct for it. The truth is that I can't empathize with every reason out there, as a white, hetero male with great health insurance. That doesn't mean the feelings aren't real.

It's the systemic failures that should bother us the most, but I fear we will overlook them with the noisy people yelling at a CPAC gathering. I have said since the start of this pandemic that we desperately need to reform our healthcare system, because access should not be based on insurance, which is in turn based on employment. I can tell you, it even fails when you have the best possible insurance situation. We're fighting now with the insurance company over an MRI that one of Diana's doctors ordered, so he can do an injection that will treat back pain that's preventing her from sleeping normally. A real doctor decided this was necessary, and any world where you have to fight a bureaucracy to get it paid for is broken. I don't understand why anyone wants to keep this system.

The rage over where we are is justified. I do worry that its target is the sideshow instead of the real underlying problems.


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