Editorial: Worrisome COVID-19 signs still lurk

photo by: Journal-World Photo Illustration

Lawrence Journal-World Editorial

In this Halloween season, it seems appropriate to write about a frightening topic. In America, threats to democracy and COVID-19 come to mind. For now, we’ll focus on COVID-19. Despite some improving numbers locally, plenty of scary signs remain. Here are a few.

• More people are saying we may live with COVID for a long, long time. Consider: “No one is trying to eradicate Covid from the planet,” Dr. Dara Kass, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, said in a recent New York Times essay. “If that was a goal, that’s not the goal right now.” Instead, she said, “we’re trying to remove it from being a guiding force in our lives.” Expect that narrative to grow in future weeks and months.

• You don’t have to look far to see building trouble. That’s the thing about this virus; it doesn’t really attack in stealth anymore. Rather than a guerrilla fighter who hides behind a pile of rubble, the virus is a large marching army. You can learn a lot about it if you have the courage to peer through the binoculars. Those binoculars are showing rising COVID cases in Europe as winter gets nearer and as vaccination rates lag. Restrictions are rising too. Russia has nearly everyone staying home from work currently. It is reasonable to think those boots are marching toward us.

• One chart says so much. It is the one run by The New York Times showing that as of Sept. 4 average daily deaths for the unvaccinated were 12 times higher than those who were fully vaccinated. Average cases for the unvaccinated were six times higher than for those fully vaccinated. Vaccinations are what will slow the advance of COVID. That couldn’t be clearer.

• The inane rhetoric continues, like when police unions say supporters of vaccine mandates will bear responsibility for a shortage of police officers who will quit rather than get the shot. Does that then mean an infected police officer is responsible for the death of someone they infect while on duty? It seems like police officers should understand two-way streets. Let’s not go down that road. Such statements undercut the ideas of public service and partnership that should be critical between cities and police departments.

In fact, let’s all leave the judgement behind. We really shouldn’t be judging unvaccinated people, and the unvaccinated shouldn’t be judging those who are prodding them to get vaccinated. A good book tells us we were not put on earth to judge each other. Instead, this should be about judging a plan to protect America and the world.

• Too many people remain too afraid. Fears of the unknown related to the vaccines are holding many people back from getting the vaccine. That’s understandable. To fear is to be human. But there are times that we also have to fight through those fears. Apparently, a lot of people simply don’t believe how chaotic the country would be if everyone chose the path of not getting vaccinated. It really would be chaotic. Hospitals would be full, people would be dying because they can’t get in, and the unfairness of it all would lead to violence. The fact it hasn’t happened to that degree yet is thanks to the vaccinated. Many of them weren’t thrilled about getting the vaccine either, but they did so because they understood their country needed them too.

• Hypocrisy is growing. The country — but particularly Kansas — is littered with politicians who are hypocrites on vaccine mandates. They think it is some government sin to have COVID vaccine mandates, yet vaccine mandates have existed in our school systems for decades. Same with the military.

• Heaven help us if we ever have a war again.You know, these COVID policies aren’t the biggest sacrifices ever asked of Americans. We are a country that has ordered millions of men via the draft to risk their lives in war. And you think government can’t order you to get a vaccine to protect against massive death of its citizenry?

Maybe you say that’s different because that is to protect us from an invading foreign army. Do you think a foreign army is a greater threat to civilization than biology? Consider that the bubonic plague in seven years killed at least 75 million people in a world that is far smaller than today. That’s an efficiency any Army would kill for.

Granted, COVID-19 is not that — and hopefully its future mutations don’t become that. But if it were that, would you then think vaccine mandates are OK? What about if it was half as bad as the plague? A quarter? An eighth? Help us out here. Give us a number.

Or better yet, just go get a shot.


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