All Of This Could Have Been Avoided

All Of This Could Have Been Avoided


Leonard Zwelling

The country is suffering. The airlines are melting down before our eyes as they cannot keep staff on the job due to outages from Covid infections. Pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and desk staff are all calling in sick. The lines to get tested are long IF you can actually get an appointment to get tested. I had one with my doctor’s office. It was canceled the night before because they did not have personnel to administer the tests and 20% of the clinic staff was out on sick leave. What will happen in the schools after winter break is unclear, but several major universities are returning to distance learning which is second class learning at best. The one thing parents have learned from the pandemic is that home schooling is no substitute for the classroom. To be honest, the virus has brought us to our knees in a fashion that no terrorist attack ever could have. We are a shadow of our former selves. We have become a nation of wounded sheep waiting illness, lining up for a test, helpless before a flight board in any airport in the country.

None of this was necessary.

At the onset of the pandemic, when no vaccines were available, we were at the mercy of forces unleashed into nature, revved up by international air travel and by governments having no idea what to do in the face of this long-time predicted calamity. The 2011 film Contagion presaged it all. That our government could not keep us safe and had no plan to deal with this inevitability is shameful and a gross failure of both Republican and Democratic administrations. Covid was not a political issue until the right decided to make it one. Yet—even Donald Trump, who had Covid, got his shots and boosters

Then came the miracle. mRNA vaccines. Did Americans flock to vaccination sites to be protected? Some did, but there are still millions of Americans eligible for vaccination and a boost who have not availed themselves of the life-saving preventative for selfish and political reasons. What we have now is the cost of their refusal to step up and get vaccinated.

In truth, it appears that the Omicron variant, which is now predominant, is not as lethal as Delta in those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted. The vast majority of those hospitalized with Covid are the unvaccinated. Among young children, this is understandable. Among adults, it is inexcusable. Rather it seems that the Omicron variant in a vaccinated adult is pretty much the flu or at least we hope this is the case. Stay home for five days and rest. You’ll survive. And, if you have just tested positive without symptoms, perhaps three days and a negative test are enough. Hah! Two tests in the span of five days? Good luck with that.

Instead, because so many are unvaccinated and are at risk, the airlines must treat every positive test like a lethal disease. People without symptoms were clogging up testing sites so as to make sure they do not infect others, but the likelihood may be that we are all destined to get Omicron and it well may be a self-limited illness unless there is a higher proportion of long-Covid complications than is expected.

My point is simple. If everyone in the country had gotten vaccinated a year ago when the vaccines became available, the variants may not have emerged (although they well may have developed outside the US and traveled here anyway), the ICUs would not be packed, and the airlines would not be canceling 1000 flights a day.

America, we did this to ourselves because we allowed many stubborn people to run the risk of death while the rest of us paid the price in inconvenience and the risk of not having an ICU bed for a heart attack victim. America—you blew it!

4 thoughts on “All Of This Could Have Been Avoided”

  1. The recent American lack of collective responsibility is Biblical. The Old Testament recounts multiple generations ignoring what was best for society. Unfortunately, our community judgment has not evolved in over 2000 years.

  2. What’s interesting to me about the topic is that vaccine skepticism seems to cross party/ideological lines. My wife and are are very conservative, tend to vote Republican/Libertarian, and we’re vaccinated/boosted. We have a couple with whom we’re very close who are polar opposites from us politically, but they are skeptical of the vaccine and wary of mandates. One of them just lost her job/pension due to her refusal to get vaccinated; for the other it’s just a matter of time.

    Still another couple we know is more aligned with us politically and are unvaccinated from more of a conspiratorial/Libertarian, almost Alex Jones perspective. And yet another couple, progressive to the core, are vaccinated and boosted but have chosen to live in a bubble, forsaking all human contact and living in what I would characterize as abject terror over the virus.

    Meanwhile, I have people furious at me for respecting my unvaccinated friends’ opinions, even though I myself am vaccinated. In their world, it’s not enough to merely do the right thing, you must think the right thing.

    A recent Newsweek story suggested that Omicron is Covid’s last gasp from a pandemic perspective, that soon enough this will become endemic and receiving one’s Covid vaccine will be as natural as getting the flu vaccine. I hope that’s the case, but I no longer pretend that or anything else will unify us. It will simply be, “Glad that’s over, how on to the next outrage.” Our culture has developed a weird and disappointing compulsion to seek divisiveness. Small wonder we’ve sought to “cancel” Dr. Seuss since the Star-Bellied Sneetches brilliantly captured America 2022.

    Thanks for presenting your thoughts in a respectful, politically-neutral manner. Happy New Year.

    1. Leonard Zwelling

      Thanks and I am baffled by the various positions on the vaccine, too, because the same unvaccinated for covid people probably have been inoculated against measles, mumps, rubella, small pox, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Go figure. I am not sure how this became political, but it seems, thanks to social media, everything is political. What a mess. I willbe blogging about the endemic nature iof corona soon. LZ

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