COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Anti-maskers and COVID deniers have been yelling about 'freedom' since the pandemic began. Now many of them are standing in the way of America's actual freedom.
  • Science deniers and anti-maskers have been crying about "freedom" for the length of the pandemic.
  • Now the US has a real chance at freedom through the vaccines.
  • But some of those same science deniers are morphing into anti-vaxxers and stopping America from getting back to normal.
Their argument against these common-sense precautions is personal freedom. The only problem with this logic, or lack thereof, is that their claims to freedom are causing the rest of us to lose ours.

It would be nice to be able to dine inside with no worry, go to the movies in a packed theater, or enjoy any of the other freedoms we enjoyed before the pandemic. But that will be impossible to do with the threat of COVID — unless we reach a certain threshold of the population who are vaccinated, probably around 80%. Who is preventing us from reaching that threshold? The 1 in 4 Americans who say they'll refuse to get vaccinated.

... Studies show that many vaccine-hesitant folks are in a 'wait-and-see' pattern and aren't completely writing off the vaccine. A positive pronouncement from their trusted elected officials or a celebrity they admire could make a world of difference. But instead of that, we get people like Jordan, Johnson, and faded rockstar Ted Nugent.

I'll admit, I had a moment of schadenfreude when Nugent got COVID and whined about how bad it was. He said "it was really scary" and that he "didn't know if [he] was gonna make it." And, of course, he is right. COVID is scary, and nearly 600,000 of his fellow citizens weren't as lucky as he and didn't make it. But he remains a poster child of all "freedom-loving" COVID-deniers: anti-mask, anti-vax and making the country suffer as a result.

Former President Donald Trump, afraid to offend the faux-freedom lovers, got his vaccine in secret and waited two months to reveal it. He clearly knows that the vaccine will protect him and that his words carry a lot of weight with his MAGA disciples, up to 40% of whom don't want a shot. But instead of shouting about the success of the vaccines and winning over his supporters, Trump doesn't seem to care if his followers have the same protection that the vaccine provides.

The tone these guys and their brethren have set from the beginning has prolonged the crisis. Fewer masks meant more contamination. If everyone masked, fewer people would have died. And fewer vaccines prolongs the threat of COVID for everyone.

... In pandemics past, vaccines were the key to how our country returned to normal. There is, after all, a reason no one has contracted polio in the United States since 1979. But that didn't happen in a vacuum. Public health officials, politicians, celebrities and everyday teenagers all teamed up to make the vaccine accessible, normal, and even "cool." Everyone got together, and before long, polio epidemics were no more.

Today, that seems all but impossible -- not in the era of alt-right cable news and the politicians mugging for that audience. I'm not the first to say it, but instead of science leading us all to health and safety, the faux-freedom lovers are causing the rest of us to lose our freedom.
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Unvaccinated People Are Most at Risk by Unmasking, C.D.C. Director Says
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, facing blowback over the agency’s new liberalized mask guidelines, offered a stark reassurance on Sunday: Only unvaccinated people are at risk if they take off their masks.

“If you are vaccinated, we are saying you are safe, you can take up your mask and you are not at risk of severe disease or hospitalization from Covid-19,” the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If you are not vaccinated, you are not safe. Please go get vaccinated or continue to wear your mask.”

... She also noted that communities where cases are high should consider keeping mask requirements, and that children who are not vaccinated — including everyone under 12 because they are not yet eligible for the shot — and people with compromised immune systems should keep their faces covered.

“This was not permission to shed masks for everybody everywhere,” Dr. Walensky said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” but about “individual assessment of your risk.”

... In her TV appearances, Dr. Walensky rejected the idea that pressure from a public and elected officials frustrated by more than a year of pandemic restrictions had prompted the new guidance, saying that it stemmed entirely from evolving science that shows the vaccines protect not just against getting severely ill from the coronavirus and its variants but also against spreading them.
Read the full article:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia