Covidiots

Yesterday I read a letter in the local paper written by a man whose wife was a nurse in a Covid unit in an even smaller and more remote part of Colorado. She’d treated a man who was a Covid denier, who subscribed to several conspiracy theories. He demanded the hospital remove his oxygen because Covid was a hoax and he didn’t trust the ventilator. He was dead in 20 minutes. The man writing the letter to my local paper was begging us in Monte Vista to care for one another by getting vaccinated.

I had lunch a couple days ago with an old friend who believes two OTHER old friends (who are pretty fucking stupid though not evil) that vaccines are bad, the Covid vaccine is particularly bad, and ultimately COVID-19 will (poof!) all go away. Her politics are farther left than mine. These friends are passionate anti-vaxxers. She explained to me that she spent a lot of time on Youtube watching virologists and she was better informed than most people as a result. I didn’t answer but I thought, “Who needs an expert like Dr. Fauci or YouTube or anything to tell them that life is better than death? Any crawling creature with a microscopic brain knows that.” 

And what kind of friend puts an idea, a mere belief, above the life of their friend?

I have a doctor friend who recently made the comment that the virus is real but also sensationalized. I agree with that. Trump did that, destroying peoples’ ability to calmly and rationally evaluate the situation even WITHOUT experts.

People seek out opinions that confirm their biases and their ignorance and don’t reflect inside themselves even for a moment, “What IF the virus is real? What IF I were to get it? Do I KNOW for sure it wouldn’t make me sick? Make my dad sick?” Erring on the side of caution only makes sense.(But many of these people believe that vaccines are reckless and dangerous).

Those who cite statistics as evidence against the potency of the virus are not even thinking that contracting the virus is not a game of craps. It’s two objects taken one at a time. The probability is not 1/6 or 1/12 or 1/10,000 but 50%, increasing with certain circumstances. I’m not smart, especially math smart, but I did get an A in math one quarter (in 8th grade) when we did irrational math and probability theorem.

It’s weird living around people who view themselves as members of a numberless herd and their life or death as a statistical problem. All this without even considering the various end results from death to permanent physical damage — all of which is unknown when a person contracts the virus.

I’ve been really blue for the past week or so, part of it is the injured shoulder (which is healing well) and the resulting bad sleep, part of it is a three day migraine, partly because I really don’t like being an elderly lady (I am), but some of my blues is related to the fact that part of me can’t believe this is still going on. I hate what I’ve had to learn about people in the pandemonium of the past 18 months.

I thought yesterday about the polio vaccine and how it was received by people — both literally(I had a shot and a sweet, cherry-flavored drink, both) and emotionally (Yay!!!!! Praise Jonas Salk!!!). I played with a couple of kids back then who’d had polio. One was in leg braces and used arm crutches. One of my cousins had also had it, and it was touch and go for a while. When she recovered, her growth had been stunted, and her legs were no longer straight. From THIS promontory I could only imagine the fear parents must have felt back then. And then, of course, President Roosevelt… Maybe if COVID 19 maimed children and disabled presidents it would be more believable?

I don’t know how this will eventually evolve. From time to time I notice the political shenanigans in Texas and Florida. My part of Colorado is full of people from Texas in summer — nice friendly people, but???

I’m very tired. I know I’m not alone.

A little light shone into this cave day-before-yesterday when a young woman watched my Youtube lecture on how to write a memoir and needed help understanding the Ppt. We had a conversation and it really helped her. It was that magic of teaching (again). I recently sent a friend a daily planner for teachers that says “Teaching Is the Greatest Act of Optimism.” I don’t know anything about the woman I helped with her homework other than she was trying to learn something. Right now that is worth so very very much.

35 thoughts on “Covidiots

  1. I REALLY don’t understand it. We’ve had vaccines for so long. And scientists have been working on the COVID one a while — longer than the pandemic. I’d rather get the vaccine and contract a mild case of COVID than not get the vaccine and, well, DIE.

  2. Florida is a joke. DeSantis is so screwed up…he didn’t know the government sent us 300 ventilators? Did he order ventilators? What a jerk.
    One of my doctors rolls his eyes as the tells me some of his patients won’t get the vaccine because God will save them. I’m happy in their belief, but come on…! And the people who are in the hospital, trying to recover from Covid and still will denounce the vaccine. I don’t get it, Martha.

    • I don’t get it, either. And yeah: DeSantis is a piece of work. The level of paranoia (and creative thinking!) that makes it easier for some people to believe a complicated conspiracy theory rather than the obvious choice (live/die) and/or the level of sadism and gullibility that leads some people to believe that God will save them (and not others) from the virus is completely beyond my ken. Not long ago I saw (without wanting to) a thing where a preacher in the south said that Trump will lead “us” to the last days and I realized that Trump’s evil is, to them the conduit to the rapture.

  3. I hear you don’t like being an “elderly lady”, but I’ll bet it beats the alternative. As for the folks that thought god was going to save them, there was a good joke about that during Hurricane Katrina. Too long to tell here…maybe I’ll post it over in my neighborhood.

    • I’d love to read the joke. Yeah, being an elderly lady beats the alternative, still, it’s an adjustment, especially with the injury which WILL heal, but meantime. I guess there are various age-related crises in human life and I’m up against one. Part of me thinks, “Why are you putting me through this shit? I’m fucking 70 years old! (69 yrs 8 mos) Give me a break!” which is totally absurd.

  4. I ended a long friendship with a woman because of her persistent anti vaccine beliefs. It’s so worrying. Both my husband and I are double vaccine, both fine. I know people who caught it before the vaccine came out. Were very ill, just survived. I know people who haven’t had it. All I can say is I’d rather have a sore arm than be dead B

  5. It’s quite frightening, Martha. It seems great forces are at work to dumb down liberal democracies and destabilise countries. Some of those forces come from within. How’s that for a conspiracy theory! I think it is very exhausting trying to respect all points of view, and sometimes one needs to remove oneself from those spheres of insanity. It is the collateral damage that it causes that hurts so much, don’t you think?

    • Yep and that so many people don’t seem to care about the collateral damage they might do. I have been very unhappy and disappointed by so much that’s happened around the virus. That it is politicized. That people are willing to ignore even their own minds and the laws of nature. I’ve stopped walking the dogs in my neighborhood on a summer evening — something I loved — because I don’t want to talk to these people at all ever. Only a year ago I was enjoying the impromptu chats with people I know are friendly and open in so many ways. But how in hell can I NOT know what I now KNOW about them. Last year there was a level of caution around the virus that no longer exists though it should. I don’t know about the forces that may be at work (I’m not saying they’re not there) but I do know that too many people have willfully abdicated the use of their own simple animal reasoning ability and replaced it with a bunch of jargon and abstract words like “freedom” that has no meaning whatsoever to a dead person. Grrr….

  6. It is so hard to see Covid as the opening breaking news…again. I am blue about it too. And angry at those who refuse to accept reality and perpetuate the problem. I also remember the polio vaccine – and of course we all drank it. Sigh. Also — I may have missed it, but where is your lecture on YouTube?

    • The lecture is pretty boring. I did it for a class who had to write a memoir.

      Yeah, I do not understand these people. I don’t like them, either. I can’t respect them and I don’t want to be anywhere around them, but they’re everywhere. :-/

      Here’s the lecture. I have a few English lessons still up there. Sometimes someone benefits. 🙂

  7. We have much to be thankful for here in Sask. The vaccine has been available and a very large percentage of the adult population has been vaccinated. The SK govt said when 75% were fully vaccinated we could start meeting in larger groups, hold some events, shop without masks. We passed that a month ago. Sweet! People who are more fearful or sensitive still wear masks, but life has resumed a more normal state. Stats here now say our Covid cases are all among those not vaccinated.

    As to “Why” all these conspiracy & misc fears and theories, I have to agree with what “Untidy Mind” writes. I think there’s some conspiracy afoot to destabilize by spreading misinformation and suspicion, by rumor and/or media. Sadly, when Christians got into studying and interpreting prophecy and all the theories about “the end times” surfaced, many became receptive to nonsense. Folks are looking anxiously for signs of the end — but signs are so flexible, and theories need revamping every decade or two.

    I’m also inclined to blame some of this gullibility on the fact that such a large percentage or the population aren’t really literate. I was in a night class once with Canadian-born and educated adults who didn’t know what country Ottawa was in — or Washington, for that matter. Sensationalism appeals when you don’t have the ability to examine facts.

    • I think humans have always been gullible and ignorant. I also know from all those years in the classroom that most students aren’t particularly curious about things or eager to learn.

      • Basically true, but I’d qualify that a bit. We wouldn’t have the world we have today if some people hadn’t wanted to find out the truth, or examine how things worked. And when I was young almost all of my fellow students wanted to get good grades. You didn’t pass if you didn’t learn. If a student couldn’t read and write, they got stuck in a lower grade. That’s what’s changed. Inhumane, they say; students must pass. An Ontario study in the 80s showed that one out of every three Grade 8 grads was “functionally illiterate.” I’ve a cousin like that. All her info must come orally; a printed page is far beyond her ability.

  8. I find this trend very worrying. Profound scientific knowledge? That was yesterday. Dr. Google and youtube are way cooler. I find it hard to imagine how this trend of conspiracy theories can be stopped again.

    • I wish I knew that, too. They are so pervasive and so absurd. BUT…maybe that’s how the Church back in the day was able to persuade all those people that every stray piece of wood was from the true cross. I’m not sure we humans are all that smart… 😦

      • When I look at the current development – and “alternatvie facts” and the like already existed before Corona, I am really concerned that democracy, in the form we have known it so far, will no longer exist in the foreseeable future. It’s not a gut feeling. Although I mainly read European philosophers, historians ….. I find these phenomena and their logical development dealt with in all of them.

        Now with new distibution channels for infotainment, the social media, things are happening so incredibly quickly that completely absurd rumblings often prevail as broad opinions.

        What can you do about it? I am not such a friend of the Chinese government, but I can understand when in China, for example. facebook, youtube & co are blocked. In some cases we too have already, rightly, switched to censoring certain content.

        If, based on the development of the last few years, I continue to think about it, I will see a strong shift to the right in our societies …

        • I see the same thing. I have thought a lot lately about the beautiful constitution of the Weimar Republic and how it crumbled under the deadly populism of the Nazis. I guess that democracy is dangerous in its own way.

          People can choose (in this country did…) corrupt, evil, anti-democracy leadership all the while telling themselves, completely convinced, they’ve chosen that elusive, abstract, undefinable thing, “freedom.”

          This bit by Emerson in “Self-Reliance” echoes through my mind, “Whoso wouldst be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.” I don’t know about the “immortal palms” but I do know that which we are told is good, or someone says is good, might not be. Both Obama and Trump rose to power on vague slogans (Chairman Mao?) that said nothing. Obama, “Hope and Change.” Trump, “Make America Great Again.” (“Serve the People”?) People cheered these vacuous phrases as if they meant something. “Gott mit uns!” 😦

          • I totally agree! BTW By the word, “palms,” Emerson is referring to the palm leaf or laurel branch, which in ancient times was used by people to celebrate a victory or occasion for rejoicing. …

            To the second part of your reply: As an ancient Greek philosopher said: “There is nothing new under the sun”. The methods of how to gain power, how to harness the crowd for your purposes … we had all of that 2000 years ago. Today it is “cooler”, adapted to the needs of the times. Since so many people are no longer even able to read it in full, short slogans are needed.

            • I meant when I said I didn’t know about immortal palms that I wasn’t sure that was a goal I would pursue (or worth pursuing?). If Emerson were in front of me now I’d call him on that. 🙂 “Emerson,” I’d say, “isn’t it better to question the name of goodness whether one wants immortal palms or not? I don’t want them, but I still think that’s important.”

              Emerson would probably laugh and say, “Most people want to be famous. It’s just bait to get people to consider the idea.”

              “Ah.”

              You’re right about slogans.

              Another thing I find troublingly paradoxical is the the people who seek out the fake news, the fake experts, etc. often really believe they’ve done REAL research because they’ve found some obscure and dubious “scientist” who happens to spout what they want to believe. Real research isn’t meant to validate a prejudice. I was sent a Youtube video of such a person. I watched it, completely incredulous that the fakeness of it wasn’t obvious to the person who sent it to me. 😦

              • And these people are usually not at all aware that what they find on youtube & Co are in turn results that the logarithm has created, due to their preferences and intellectual heights. My son and I once actively compared which results he and which I got for the same search entries. Very different….

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