She was only in her 30s when COVID-19 put her in the hospital for three nights.
The woman, whom I know well, eventually tested negative, but then “long COVID” took over. Formerly healthy, she now suffers a disabling inflammatory disease. She may need a year to completely recover — and some don’t recover.
Need I add that she was unvaccinated? This acquaintance doesn’t fit the usual profile of people who refuse to get their shots. She’s highly educated and politically on the left, albeit, the far left.
The story doesn’t end there, however. Her 10-month-old baby came down with COVID-19, most likely passed from her. The baby experienced just a short fever, fortunately, but her mother is now unable to nurse him. The father can’t go to work because he’s caring both for the mother and the baby. Their home life is a mess.
“For her not to get vaccinated is child abuse,” a leading science writer told me. She almost took that harsh statement back but didn’t. And I had to agree.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently let loose, announcing that he wanted to “piss off” his citizens who won’t get vaccinated by banning them from public spaces. Macron apparently feels it’s politically safe to join rising public anger at the minority that keeps the pandemic going.
There’s the story of Canadians on a recent chartered flight to Mexico who misbehaved badly. They passed around booze, didn’t wear masks and, in one case, even vaped onboard. The partygoers included TV personalities, social media influencers and other cultural leaders.
The airlines are leaving most of them in Mexico.
Back in the U.S., rage at the unvaccinated now hogging intensive care unit beds has come out in the open. You can tell from the reporting.
In Iowa, retired school superintendent Dale Weeks waited 15 days to get a bed in a major hospital that could treat his sepsis, a condition demanding immediate treatment. He died.
The media also picked up on Alabama businessman Ray DeMonia, who suffered a cardiac emergency and needed specialized care. DeMonia died after being turned away from 43 hospitals in three states.
Hospitals, meanwhile, are seeing an alarming rise in abuse of their workers by COVID-19 patients and their visitors. Early on, these caregivers were hailed as heroes risking their lives to save others. Many attribute the new violence to the public’s frustration at the ongoing health crisis.
It also undoubtedly reflects a change in the demographics of the seriously ill COVID-19 population. Early on, before vaccines were readily available, all kinds of infected people fell gravely ill. Now the great majority needing hospitalization are unvaccinated.
This group is highly weighted with self-righteous “conservatives,” trained by the former president and his impersonators to ignore the medical experts, stew with resentment and act out their anger. Some of their visitors throw tantrums when told to wear a mask. Hospital workers have been sustaining broken bones, punches to the chest and racial insults.
The new mother I reference above is very left but shares some of the right wingers’ high dudgeon. She likes to flout authority. (She mocked social distancing.) She probably figured she’d survive COVID-19 without getting seriously ill.
As for the possibility that she would be OK but pass the virus onto the more vulnerable ... well, not her problem. Right? That lack of concern, it would appear, extended to her newborn.
The vaccinated majority is rapidly losing interest in the fate of the unvaccinated — and that’s putting it diplomatically. The latter may be irresponsible, ignorant, selfish, mentally unbalanced or any combination of the above. We just feel sorry for the innocents around them.
Froma Harrop covers of politics, economics and culture with an unconventional approach. Follow her on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.