standing letters

Now that we are around the two-year anniversary of the COVID epidemic, one would have expected that, given the tremendous genius and public health awareness of America, the worst of the societal effects would be behind us. Alas, it is not so. Given the ignorance and selfishness of a minority of Americans, the entire country still must live with significant limitations to our behavior and actions. Let me address one mantra from the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers that keeps getting raised.

My body, my choice.

Those using this phrasing forget that every choice we make in life has consequences. These people seem to bypass the consequences of their “choice” to the detriment of the rest of us. If they feel that no one can force them to inject what is an astonishingly safe and effective vaccine into their body, so be it. If they are willing to risk themselves and even their family and friends drowning in their own secretions in a hospital somewhere, so be it. But they do not have the right to demand the government absolve them of the consequences of their choice. These people should isolate themselves from the rest of the country, should not be allowed into groups with other people, should not take hospital beds or medical resources from those who need them when the antivaxxers almost inevitably get sick with COVID, should not ask others to pay for their care through increased insurance costs that get passed on to the rest of us, should not be allowed into stores and restaurants, and should not be allowed to spread their lies and disinformation on the internet and other public forums, or to otherwise endanger people with whom they interact.

To put it another way, if you insist on a right not to get vaccinated and be masked, government has the right to insist on doing what needs to be done to protect the public from you.

There are other rationales being used as well. None of them is supported by any facts or evidence but that does not stop their being used. For instance, there is the 1% diversion (only 1% die) (1% of some 50 million unvaccinated is still half a million unnecessary deaths), the total misinterpretation of the VAERS information, the established fact that masks DO reduce infection and do not interfere with breathing, that there are no legitimate religious reasons not to be vaccinated (every major religion recommends vaccination), I am young and healthy so I am not at risk (in the current outbreak many, perhaps most, hospitalization are among those under 35-40) and many other excuses. We can address those misperceptions in another letter. The “My body, my choice” mantra is being so widely used that it is necessary to debunk it first. Here’s hoping that the government and business leaders will finally develop the fortitude to impose and enforce the safety measures that are needed at this time to protect us all.

Kenneth Robbins

Charlestown

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