An Actual Party of Death, Now

Bluntly, I blame this on (of course) Donald Trump. The GOP has been a mess for years — decades, really — but allow me to suggest that had any other Republican been president when COVID hit, that person would likely have been reasonably sensible about things like masks and vaccines and taking advice from the CDC and its scientists. They would have acknowledged that the way back to a roaring economy (which always advantages the GOP for some unfathomable reason, given how terrible they are at even basic economic policy) was squashing the COVID virus as as soon as possible. But Trump was (and is) a smugly ignorant poltroon, so of course the rest of the GOP, craven and spineless as it is, fell into line.

The result is that now it’s murdering its own constituency, and dragging this out for the rest of us. Let’s be clear that the vast majority of people who are currently dying of COVID aren’t Democrats and liberals, all of whom vaxxed up as soon as possible. The majority of the people hospitalized and dying are the unvaccinated, and the people who are willfully unvaccinated are the people who have been lied to by the GOP and their media outlets about vaccines and masks and “personal freedom” and so on. When GOP politicians in Florida or Texas (or Ohio!) block a local masking or vaccination policy, the people most at risk for that policy (aside from, you know, children and those who actually have a legit medical reason not to be vaccinated) are Republicans and conservatives. When the GOP says it will fight for your freedoms with regard to vaccinations and masks, it’s basically saying to its base “We want you to die.” And how does the base respond? By cheering, and taking another shot of horse dewormer, and literally shitting itself.

It’s genuinely astounding to me. The GOP messaging machine has for decades done a fine job at making poor and middle-class white people vote against their own economic interests through the clever use of aspirational messaging and veiled racism, but the fact it is now actively working to kill off its base by extending a pandemic — and the base is loving it — really feels like a floor. What else can you do, once you’ve killed off your base? The phrase “eating your seed corn” is made for moments like this.

Now, I’m aware that the GOP is simultaneously trying to blame Joe Biden for trying to contain the pandemic, and trying to blame him for when its constituents die, and some of the most committed constituents are with their dying breaths denying that what they have is actually COVID at all (metaphorically; their dying breaths are usually under a respirator and they are in a medically-induced coma to keep them from clawing the tubes out of their own throats, but you get what I’m saying). At the end of the day, however, some others of these folks are saying “I should have gotten the damn vaccine” before they die, and their friends and loved ones are hearing them say it. It will be interesting to see how many of these folks still keep to the path that the GOP has put them on.

I live out here in GOP country; Darke County, Ohio, the small, conservative county where I live, is one of the bottom ten counties in Ohio in terms of vaccination rates (34%, 79th out of 88 counties). People here have heard the GOP and conservative messaging on vaccines and masks and “personal liberty” loud and clear and they are making their choices because of it. A fair number of them will actively resent Biden’s plans to more aggressively get people vaccinated, for no other reason than that Trump was a stubborn dimwit about COVID, and a bunch of ambitious GOPers decided to keep doing that even after Trump lost the presidency, the House and the Senate for them.

I’ve talked before about how badly the rest of us should feel when someone who is willfully unvaccinated dies of COVID. My position on this hasn’t changed much, but I really want to emphasize just how much culpability the Republican party and conservative media and propogandists have for their constituency refusing to get vaccinated and wear masks. Yes, people make their own choices and they are responsible for them. But when the people and organizations they trust to tell them about the world (and have been told to trust only) intentionally lie and actively put them in the way of a virus that can, does and will hospitalize and kill a non-trivial number of them, at the very least, those people and organizations share in that responsibility. Everyone at the GOP headquarters and Fox News is vaccinated. No one there is shitting their guts out thanks to livestock medicine. They know what the virus is, how it works, and how to keep it in check. And they keep lying to their people about it anyway.

I’m going to leave you with this: An article on the CNN site, about a conservative county in Missouri, where the vaccination rate is 27% and if you wear a mask, you’re branded as a Democrat. Are people dying there? Oh, yes, they are, and still people are hesitant to get a simple, free and effective vaccine because now it’s been made political, and because they’re told, in so many ways, not to.

Here’s a quote from the piece:

“I had both shots of the vaccine, and people just acted like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t help,'” Cheryl Wetton said. “It bothers me sometimes that people act like Covid is a big joke. I always want to say, ‘Well, why don’t you just come right up here to the cemetery, and I’ll show you my husband’s grave? And I can show you it’s no joke.'”

Wetton actually did say that to a guy in town, she later confirmed. “He just got real quiet.”

They’re killing their own people because of politics. Not anyone else. Not any more. And they’ll keep doing it. For as long as it takes. Because this is how they think they will win.

— JS

90 Comments on “An Actual Party of Death, Now”

  1. 1. Because talking about vaccines is unfortunately a political issue, the Mallet is out. Please behave and be respectful of others.

    2. This is not a place to peddle vaccine-related bullshit and I will Mallet any that shows up, and I will err on the side of Malleting with regard to what constitutes “vaccine-related bullshit.” We can acknowledge the vaccines are not a silver bullet and that a very small number of people might have breakthrough infections, and also a very small number of people may have side effects, while also acknowledging that for the vast majority of people, the vaccines are safe, effective and beneficial in protecting against the virus and minimizing harm when a breakthrough infection occurs. Having accepted this as read, it doesn’t need to be argued endlessly here.

  2. I disagree that Trump’s COVID reaction was because he was smugly ignorant.

    It’s because he was, always has been, and always will be, stinky LAZY. With COVID he got a problem as President that required actual WORK, and not just spinning his failure with e bunch of nice adjectives like he’s done with every OTHER shitshow over which he has presided.

    Once he settled on the Lazy Bastard’s method of handlign a problem, Deny It Exists, his followers took up the banner and ran with it.

  3. I struggle with feeling compassion for the willfully unvaccinated when they become seriously ill or die, and it makes me angry to know that they are using healthcare resources (ER and ICU beds) that are needed for other patients for reasons that have nothing to do with Covid-19. Innocent people are literally dying, or having to accept delays in needed care, because of their ignorance and selfishness.

  4. They see no reason to stop until they lose. Humanity, intellectual or any other kind of honesty, or even fiscal reality won’t stop them. As long as they get power (and votes, though if votes don’t get them power, they will restrict the ability to use them). Conscience doesn’t matter; the person referencing Reese’s comment on the Terminator seems (unfortunately) accurate.

    I remember the harping of the GOP on the misbehavior of Democratic politicians with almost-fondness because they at least pretended to have standards and humanity. Trump normalized the lack of both for them, and now their partisans are following that path to the grave. I hope the GOP follows soon.

  5. I know one person who is unable to be vaccinated. He is having a bone marrow transplant in a few days and his immune system is totally suppressed to prevent rejection.

    He is obviously going to get vaccinated once he has an immune system that will get any benefit from the vaccination (he needs to redo the full set of standard vaccinations after the transplant, because this process wipes out all of his antibodies).

    I’m very glad that the French healthcare system means that he isn’t bankrupted by this.

    And… yes, this is the sort of person that should be being protected by everyone getting vaccinated and herd immunity protecting him. He is who you are endangering when you don’t get your vaccines.

  6. Who knew it was this easy to get them to wipe themselves out? It’s sad. I’d rather that more of them had “moments of clarity” in which they realize the load of horse shit (dewormer?) that they’ve been fed, and as a result come to realize that most of what they’ve been led to believe is nonsense, the whole right-wing messaging complex.

    The New York times ran a piece a few weeks ago that attempted to convey the effects of vaccine skepticism in Arkansas. Here’s the piece:

    Sitting in front of my computer, I wanted to scold these fools and just say “fuck ’em, go ahead and die you bastards.” But surprisingly I felt empathy for them, even the guy who labeled himself a libertarian and (spoiler alert) died of COVID shortly after the interview.

    Sure, I get a sense of schadenfreude when I see the statistics, but when I see an actual person suffering and dying, I just pity them and feel bad that they lost their lives due to their ignorance.

  7. I, for one, am pleased to see President Biden getting serious about vaccine mandates.
    It’s good public-health policy, and it’s good politics.

  8. Other than a ridiculous number of typos, I stand behind my every word (wincing at the typos, natch).

  9. This may be prejudice on my part, but the people I see on TV talking about why they won’t get the vaccine seem to be drawn from the lower side of the intelligence bell curve. Now, I admit that the congenitally stupid didn’t ask to be furnished with less efficient brains, and there are some functions in society and the economy where dullness is an advantage.

    But, again, it may be bias on my part, but if the pandemic’s long-term effect is to raise the average level of brainpower in the US, I can’t see that as a bad thing.

    Besides, it’s their choice, their freedom. They’re running toward the cliff’s edge and would resent my trying to stop them. So I won’t.

  10. Hi John, much as I agree with the general thesis of your piece, I must take some issue with your characterization of the victims being mostly republican, and the idea that all liberals and progressives lined up to get their vaccines early.

    A large part of the vaccine hesitant are the poorer largely black communities, who have historically been poorly served by the medical system. Vaccination rates in these areas have lagged severely behind wealthy urban neighborhoods for both democrat and republican voters. This is not solely a red vs. blue issue.

  11. I honestly thought that once the GOP base saw their own friends and family members dying of COVID, they’d realize their politicians and media were lying to them, and start taking it seriously.

    Boy, was I naive.

  12. Like John, I live in Trumpland. I’ve learned not to discuss politics (and almost everything is politics), because it’s useless.

    TrumpTrueBelievers obey the strictures of their Tribe – facts are not important in their “reasoning”. Things said by people who are not members of the Tribe are not even heard. Debate being pointless, the only effective response to the fascists is to defeat them, election after election, until they all die of old age.

  13. 1) It’s a blog, but this gives evidence that politics is the largest significant correlating factor to vaccination rates (though not the only one) -

    2) I’m sure the Marines have to be proud of Josh Mandel about now. Threatening the government with violence (the one he wants to join, and would happily use against others) is an…interesting “intellectual” position.

  14. Totally agree with you, and don’t mind going a step further: certain Government officials and false news sources should be charged for manslaughter and crimes against humanity for their deliberate efforts to prevent the safety of the entire population.

    On a tangential note: the anniversary of 9/11 is reminding us of how dangerous irresponsible dogma can be. I always thought George W. Bush was a terrible President, just because he was so prone to stupidity. Having experienced someone far worse, now seeing GDub in the video clips actually causes me to feel affectionately nostalgic for him. Weird, huh?

  15. Just finished reading Better to Have Gone, about the deaths of two utopians of Auroville, India. One conclusion, that they died for their beliefs (no modern medicine, faith in their spiritual leaders), the other conclusion, they died because of (or due to) their beliefs.
    We do have a way of being subjective about things and not liking to question our assumptions.

  16. No, Trump was the symptom, not the vector. You feed the beast in the cellar until one day it can’t be contained.

  17. At this point, some year and a half later, I have reached the point of just thinking. fuck it, let them all die of stupidity. They have used up what sympathy I have for their plight.

  18. Interestingly, in our red county, we have an age-related dichotomy. Over 65, vax rates are close to 65% or so. 30s-50s and maybe younger? Drags us down to around 50%. And…we’re the highest vaxxed county in NE Oregon.

  19. I remember a while back (or was it years ago?), John posted a thing about how the GOP, when something doesn’t work for them, always doubles down on what they’ve been doing. Apparently, this is even true when members of their own party die.

    So strange how every September 11th, the lament about ‘never again’ is trotted out, while every day we chalk up a half a 9/11’s worth of deaths. I guess some deaths are more important than others.

  20. Tempting though it is to blame Trump for this, many other countries are going through the same thing. This is bigger than Trump. Not that this lets him off the hook. This is nothing so simple as he is either a cause or he is an affect. There is a feedback loop here, and he a willing part of it.

  21. Dominic Amann- Sadly agree with everything you said. Here in Chicago, it’s shocking how our South & West sides aren’t getting vaccinated.

  22. For those who have trouble sympathizing with folks who haven’t been vaccinated, Ashton Pittman has a Twitter thread showing a more nuanced portrayal of a grandmother who’s currently getting dragged on Reddit:

    Also, as Dominic Amann noted above, the vaccination rates for Black people in my area lags that of whites, even though Black people in Philadelphia overwhelmingly vote Democratic (more so statistically than their white neighbors, though Philly’s a pretty Democratic city overall). The reasons for this are varied, but besides some justified suspicion based on past treatment by government and medical bodies, a number of lower-income folks are concerned about being unable to work if their immune response to the vaccine is too strong. It’s easier for some people to take sick days than for others.

  23. As for the refusniks, I am struck by the similarities with Mark Driscoll’s church in Phoenix. To recap, Driscoll is a famous megachurch pastor, and notably abusive even by the standard of megachurch pastors. He had a big, multi-site church in Seattle until it imploded and he slunk off in disgrace. He lay low for a year or so, and then started over in Phoenix. He has done well there, but the same abuse issues are coming out. So riddle me this: Driscoll’s actions in Seattle were well known, among people interested in such things. So why would anyone join the Phoenix church, much less be surprised by anything that followed? Many seem not to have had a club, and put less care into choosing their pastor than they would choosing a plumber.

    What we have here is a failure of discernment. The discernment process doesn’t go beyond “Is he telling me what I want to hear?” An awful lot about the modern right is the same thing.

  24. As has been noted, the situation is different for POC. This is still not a great application of discernment, but they have vastly better reasons to be suspicious. I am hopeful that they will work through this, given time.

  25. Yup, they will keep doing it, and they will keep dying. The problem is they aren’t doing it FAST ENOUGH. The sooner these people are winnowed away, the better off our country will be.

  26. You know the GOP has done the actuarial math and has calculated that, especially with the laws they’ve put in place to keep non-republicans from voting, the death rate from Covid will not cost them any elections. The instant they see that changing they’ll be beating the vaccine drum like they were members of Blue Man Group.

    I constantly read people (including in this thread) saying things like “I can’t believe they’re killing off their base” and “Let them all die”. The thing is, the GOP is able to keep stringing along this insanity because, statistically, not that many people die. As long as they keep people watching the “news” sources they want them to watch, it won’t matter that all the ICU beds in the country are full and the demand for liquid oxygen is so high that we’re delaying rocket launches. So until the next variant comes around and has a 15% mortality rate, don’t expect deaths to have an effect on their attitude.

    The most frustrating thing about this is that Trump and the GOP will not face any repercussions. People should be getting removed from office and put in jail for life. But the worst that’s going to happen is future historians will write with interest that in spite of easy access to a safe, effective, free vaccine Americans chose to let the virus continue to spread and mutate. It will be a fascinating case study for them.

  27. I would comment Reddit’s r/nursing to the attention of readers of this blog. Some of the frontline stories of what’s going on are not just eye-opening, but eye-popping-right-out-of-your-head-and-dangling-by-the-optic-nerve.

    Of particular concern are the significant minority of nurses (particular in red states) who, despite having seen first-hand what Covid does, are anti-vax. The non-insane nurses are expressing concern that when the mandates come in, they’ll quite rather than get vaccinated, pushing the entire system even further into collapse than it is now.

    I wonder what, if anything, we can do to support them in what is likely to be a dark fall and winter, other than do everything possible to not require a trip to “Club Med” for any reason.

  28. I don’t understand it, never have understood it, and never will. Like, what’s the desired result? What’s the win condition? The policies the extreme right espouse are bad for everyone, INCLUDING THEMSELVES, and they keep doing it.

    I don’t get it. -.-

  29. The problem with people that won’t get vaccinated is not that they are willing to kill themselves, but that they are willing to kill others through their negligence, because not everyone can get vaccinated, and vaccinations don’t make infection or death impossible, just much less likely, so they can give sickness to lots of people.

    As someone else put it, each infection gives SARS-CoV-2 another set of chances to find a set of mutations that will beat the current vaccines. It may not be possible for it to win (a set of mutations to be the vaccines may make it unworthy or uninfective after all), but if we keep selling the virus tickets, it will keep playing, and we will keep losing. The willingly unvaccinated are printing tickets for the virus.

  30. Matthew Hughes said: But, again, it may be bias on my part, but if the pandemic’s long-term effect is to raise the average level of brainpower in the US, I can’t see that as a bad thing.

    That is, frankly, some quasi-eugenicist horseshit right there (and barely quasi-, for that matter).

    First, even if things worked the way you appear to think they do, the deaths of what might ultimately be around 500,000 or so (we can’t count any cases before vaccines were widely available) will mean nothing (statistically, that is) in a country of 330 million.

    Second, you might want to read up on “regression to the mean.”

  31. It’s really the bloodthirsty cynicism from top R party members that has me stunned. I feel a little bad for the people they’ve duped, though with two under-12 kids and an immunocompromised person in the house my sympathy comes to a screeching halt at our (and the school’s) front door. But they’re just victims, however willing. The folks who sit at the top, almost uniformly vaccinated, possessing above-average health insurance that will get them real care rather than the feed store… they looked at the real cost of going anti-vax and decided that the death toll of their own constituents was worth the additional votes/enthusiasm it would net them.

    That’s just jaw-droppingly nihilistic. That’s beyond saying that you’d rather make the other sonofabitch die for their country. It’s just walking folks into a meat grinder because your other followers like the noise it makes as it chews them up.

  32. I checked out the CNN article. Carter County the next county west from where I live, and is where my parents were married. I know the people here, and it just sickens me to see what they’ve bought into.

    My county isn’t any better, we’re somewhere around 26% fully vaccinated, and that has been rising since FDA approval. I see people that I had as students (I teach InfoTech at the community college) railing against vaccine mandates on Facebook.

    It’s depressing. At least the college is following strict masking and distancing protocols.

  33. Thoughts and prayers, I believe is the formulation, to the voluntarily unvaccinated.

    Biden’s mandate is a a bit half-assed (should have mandated vaccination for all air travel for eligible people) but now the FDA approval is done, better late than never.
    At least it will winnow out the crazies from Federal employment and the healthcare profession, which is a good thing. Of course they will then bleat when they are unable to claim unemployment insurance, as they will be considered to have voluntarily lost their job. Delicious irony that they will be complaining about not getting their “socialist” benefits.

  34. One of the reasons medicine is such a highly regulated profession is to protect the ignorant/poorly-educated/dimwitted from themselves, by (in theory, at least) insuring that any healthcare provider they visit isn’t going to be a quack peddling a snake-oil “cure.” Accordingly, I’d favor prosecuting Tucker Carlson et. al. for practicing medicine without a license, as they are clearly promoting the use of dubious therapeutics such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin which have no proven efficacy against COVID.

  35. I don’t dispute your assertions about the role of media and political leadership, but in addition to the caveat about vaccination rates among Blacks not tracking with Democrat/Republican numbers, I have to say there are a fair number of people on the “wellness” Left who are strident anti-vaxxers. Sadly, science denial isn’t confined to conservatives.

  36. I’m here to agree with the people talking about how the political point is only true if you’re only talking about white people. I just looked at the current death numbers in Ohio, for example, and Black people are still dying disproportionately often there (13% of all Covid deaths, vs. 12.4% of the overall population).

    I’ve been wondering if the disproportionate impact on POC and the poor is part of the reason the GOP’s been sticking to their no-vaccine, no-mask, no-mercy talking points. The young, white, wealthy part of their base can spread the disease to kill poor Black people. We know that part of the reason the Trump administration’s response was slow was that they saw higher case rates in blue areas, and therefore figured it would kill more Democrats than Republicans.

  37. At those rates, though (about a 5% difference), it isn’t probably going to do them enough “good” since there are 4-ish times as many White people as Black people.

  38. To think when I was younger I thought comic book villains were unrealistic and that real life villains always thought they were doing what was right even if they were wrong about it.

    Nope. There’s rich people out there getting their jollies from having so much power that they can get massive numbers of people to die.

    (I want to be like, Wake Up Sheeple! But they’ve even stolen that from us.)

    I HATE living in a dystopian novel.

  39. Biden keeps losing in court so I don’t expect this mandate to last anyway. His poll numbers are sinking and a lot of unvaccinated are not GOP voters. I think this is going to hurt democrats election chances. Anyway get the vaccine if you are able.

  40. The posts here that suggest that the GOP figures it’s okay to let its own constituency die because more people outside its constituency than in it is… not really a winning argument for the GOP not being a party of death, ya know (and also not really borne out by recent data).

    Also, considering that the electoral map in 2016 was won by the GOP by razor-thin amounts (and likewise by the Democrats in 2020), the GOP losing any voters at all is not a great tactic for them. I strongly suspect to the extent the Dems are losing voters, they are in solid Democratic strongholds, whereas the GOP losing voters in, say, Arizona or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, will not serve them well.

    (Note: This is only a supposition, not backed by data. Please calibrate/ignore accordingly.)

  41. Not to object, but to add – in an ideal world the one taking the risk would be the one to suffer the consequences, I suppose, but that isn’t actually how it works. Community spread is community spread, and the kids are not vaccinated.

    We seem to have forgotten there’s an epidemic at the moment, and the question is not whether so-and-so is going to get sick, but whether we are going to try to put an end to it, or not. And a simple majority in favor of ending it is not going to work – the coronavirus gets a vote, too. Kind of like Senate rules, except 60% is way too little.

  42. My home county in Kansas is near the bottom of vaccinations as well. My 94 year old fully vaccinated mother got a mild case of Covid after needing a tooth extracted (the dental surgeon she saw tested positive the day after she saw him). The assisted living facility she is in has been going in and out of Lockdown because the county keeps going into the red.

  43. JS: “They’re killing their own people because of politics. Not anyone else. Not any more.”

    I wish this were true. Well, what I REALLY wish is that no one was getting killed due to the the GOP’s actions. However, people are getting killed and it’s not just the unvaccinated. Yes, they’re dying, but they’re also piling up in the ICUs and causing other people to go without urgent medical care because the hospitals are operating at or beyond capacity.

  44. I don’t understand the contradictory thinking. Getting vaccinated is bad, but taking ivermectin is good. It seems that when there is lots of science saying that the vaccine is safe and effective, that’s dismissed, but when there is one sketchy study that says ivermectin may be effective, people start taking it in lethal doses. They focus on the small number of side effects/deaths from the vaccine, and ignore all the warnings about the side effects and deaths from taking ivermectin.

    From afar it isn’t clear if the GOP is pandering and amplifying the opinions of its base, or creating them or is stuck in a vicious feedback loop.

  45. There is a Youtuber called Dr John Campbell who has literally followed Covid-19 daily on his channel from the start when it was still only in China. His information is always from official peer reviewed sources.

    A few months ago he was astounded by the diversity of vaccinations along political lines. I forget the exact numbers but is was something along Republican vaccinations 35% to Democrats 70% vaccinations.

    No other country has such a deficit due to politics.

  46. MO is also a place where the coroner doesn’t hv to put cause of death on the death certificate, per WaPo story 8/4, and can even lie. So ppl can continue to delude themselves about C19 levels in the community. As they did w/HIV/AIDS in 80s/90s.

  47. I need surgery. I’ve had my pre surgery tests, gotten cardiac clearance, I’m ready to go.

    But can’t get a surgery date because the hospital’s beds are full of COVID folks. And I know from the hospital’s stats this week that it has 34 positive patients, only 2 of whom are vaxxed. The doctor said maybe January but depends on COVID. :(

  48. @ Dave R:

    “Biden keeps losing in court so I don’t expect this mandate to last anyway.”

    Ah, I was surprised the thread made it so far without a factually unsupported drive-by whine.

    Fortunately, there’s enough of a precedent for government-mandated vaccinations in the US that any attempts to challenge it will end up about as well as Trump’s “lawyers'” efforts to prove “election fraud”.

    @ Kenneth:

    “I have to say there are a fair number of people on the “wellness” Left who are strident anti-vaxxers”

    I know a few people like that too. A couple of them I’d even usually consider smart. It’s unfortunate, but not particularly widespread.

    @ Dwight Williams:

    “I am horrified to note that the self-proclaimed “People’s Party of Canada” has gotten in line with this anti-vaccination doctrine”

    Really? I feel like antivaxx is right up the PPC’s alley. Right-wingers around the world seem to be readily adopting whatever tactic our USian trashmorons come up with.

  49. I know someone who died because she could not get regular testing for a dangerous medicine because doctors could not give her regular appointments due to Covid. I hope you get the care you need in time. So they ain’t just killing themselves.

  50. At this point, any Republicans who aren’t True Believer AntiVaxxers are trapped in a death spiral of public health measure contrariness by their base. Even God Emperor Trump himself got booed at a rally for daring to suggest that maybe people should get vaccinated (but only if they want!).

  51. As for republicans dying, I have no comment as to the statistical significance of the numbers.

    I am reminded of an episode in a series Joe Biden would be old enough to have seen, “The Untouchables.”

    Imagine: Al Capone has freshly exited the stage to be incarcerated. In the dead of night, by the dockyards, many police arrive and hide themselves. Two evil gangs show up with guns to kill each other.

    A detective whispers to Elliot Ness, “Is your plan to let them kill each off… and only then move in to make the arrests?” No doubt the viewing audience is tempted to agree. Ness says “No.” Viewers sigh, but acknowledge that he is right. That’s why he’s a good guy.

  52. What worries me are the Leftists who are anti-vaxxers, for reasons that make even less sense to me than “Trump sez so”.

    A lot of them are sure the Government is trying to kill them off to profit Pfizer by forcing “untested” vaccines into their arms (because the FDA Testing cycles takes – 3 years? 5 years?), even though the test is right out in public with all the people getting the shots! They’re the ones who insist “The Truth” about Ivermectin is being muzzled – though how on Earth a drug for treating “river blindness” (“because the blackfly that transmits the infection lives and breeds near fast-flowing streams and rivers, mostly near remote rural villages”, according to the CDC website), intestinal roundworm, head lice, and rosacea can affect a virus that attacks the lungs is a mystery to me….

  53. the fact it is now actively working to kill off its base by extending a pandemic — and the base is loving it — really feels like a floor. What else can you do, once you’ve killed off your base?

    I’m not sure there is a floor. Just look at their recent behaviour:

    Using media propaganda to incite violence against people who don’t support them.
    Openly organising fascist coups.
    Banning abortion, which will increase the population in red states.

    They’ve also stacked the Supreme Court, and Democrats seem like they’re still playing by the old rules.

    So could these be winning strategies?
    (Or at least, stem their losses?)

  54. But they ARE killing other people. A vaccine is not a magic shield. 95% effective does not mean 95% of people are 100% immune no matter what happens.

    Even if you are vaccinated, if you are continuously blasted by the viral loads of all the dimwits who aren’t, you will probably be infected. That is the main cause of the breakthrough infections you hear about.

  55. I just got an email from conservative action (for whatever reason they decided I’m their guy, despite the fact I’ve never voted for a republican in my life) and they are really marketing this to stoke up outrage and get some moolah from their base. It is INSANE. They are literally just using the outrage to get people riled up to support them. They know everything they are saying is utter bullshit, they just need to get folks mad enough at the libs that they’ll keep the RNC in ermines and pearls. It is crazy making.

  56. @pjcamp

    They are, indeed, endangering others; I am double vaccinated with the Pfizer shots but the government’s advice on this side of the pond is that people who are clinically extremely vulnerable – I am one of them since I have a severe lung disease and am somewhat immune compromised because of that disease- should isolate ourselves from others despite my vaccination because if I catch it I will almost certainly die.

    Before Covid-19 turned up I was the person most likely to make infection control teams wake up screaming; the multi-resistant mucoid pseudomonas infection in my lungs is very, very, good at killing people in a wide variety of ways.

    I have hitherto been treated in negative pressure rooms complete with airlock to keep my bugs in that room. When I am out of hospital I have always been super careful to stay away from people at risk of acquiring the wretched bugs since they may kill them; opportunistic pathogens do what it says on the tin.

    And so it becomes ever harder to work up sympathy for people who could be vaccinated but refuse it as in their view it infringes their human rights. Which seems very strange to me because it doesn’t seem to work well with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

  57. TO: everyone who is showing an inclination towards “let ’em die and good riddance– they made their bed and they deserve what happens to them and besides they’re endangering all the rest of us:”

    Do, pray tell, enlighten me how your ethical and moral stance is one whit different from that of the folks who said (and still do say), “Hey let all those faggots die of AIDS! Serves ’em right for making their lifestyle choice and they’re putting the rest of us at risk.”

    I’m looking forward to hearing how you parse yourselves as distinct from those deplorables.

    pax / Ctein

  58. “Even if you are vaccinated, if you are continuously blasted by the viral loads of all the dimwits who aren’t, you will probably be infected. That is the main cause of the breakthrough infections you hear about.”

    This is why I caught a “rare” breakthrough thanks to the delta’s incredible virulence. I made it all through 2020 unvaccinated and was very careful about masking and distancing; not so much with the over-sanitizing and washing of hands every five minutes. I was on planes every week and in hotels, eating expensive and usually-cold delivery meals, and masking 100% when I wasn’t in my hotel or car.

    I got vaccinated as soon as I was able to get an appointment, which in March of ’21 was pretty tough. A few weeks after the second, CDC chirps “hey, if you’re vaxed, you don’t need to wear a mask anymore!” So I stopped masking, started eating in restaurants again, and felt life was reasonably back to normal for me.

    That was probably not a great idea. Fortunately my case was very mild; mostly a lot of sneezing, mild cramps, and fatigue for a few days.

    I know more people who’ve had breakthroughs than who caught it before the vaccines were available, which only drives home how deadly this variant is and that some of us would be dead by now without the shots.

    As for these selfish assholes? Fuck em. I used to care but not anymore. Fuck around and find out.

  59. “Do, pray tell, enlighten me how your ethical and moral stance is one whit different from that of the folks who said (and still do say), “Hey let all those faggots die of AIDS! Serves ’em right for making their lifestyle choice and they’re putting the rest of us at risk.””

    Seriously gonna go there?


    There’s no vaccine for HIV yet. HIV cannot spread through aerosols. There’s a pill I take daily to prevent HIV infection. It works.

    There’s a free, safe vaccine for COVID. Those who refuse to get it for any reasons other than legit medical are willfully choosing death as an outcome of that decision, and willfully passing the virus to others whether they’re vaccinated or not. There is no PrEP for COVID.

    THAT IS THE FUCKING REASON I DON’T CARE ABOUT THEM ANYMORE. Fuck off with your sneering moralization.

  60. I was going to go with “being gay is not a lifestyle choice, while being pig ignorant is.”

    Plus if there had been a vaccine for HIV, pretty much all gay people would have taken it. Not to mention hemophiliacs and anyone who needed blood transfusions.

  61. Connie Willis called it:
    (American Visitor to Cambridge during disease outbreak) – “You know, back in the US we wouldn’t put up with all theses restrictions!”

    (British academic thinks) – Yes, and that’s why 35 million of you died in the Pandemic,

    Doomsday Book

    Of course, the book was written pre Boris Johnson, who hasn’t exactly covered himself with glory during the Covid Plague Years either.

  62. What I don’t understand is Operation Warp Speed and the development of a vaccine was the ONE good thing to come out of the Trump White House during the pandemic, and he was desperately hoping it would be released before the election. I would think they would be tooting their horns and beating their chests for the success of the program, and yet they divorce themselves from it. Meanwhile, democrats can’t get enough of the vaccine and want multiple boosters.

  63. @ Mr. B

    Sick to death of the unimpacted wagging their morally superior fingers in defense of naked and inexcusable covidiocy.

    So easy to handwave bad behavior and advocate for empathy for political anti-vaxxers when no one you know or care about has been touched by the consequences of their behavior.

    Even easier if you are alive to do said handwaving and defending because you were fortunate enough to either survive or contract a milder version of covid.

    My best friend and her family watched her young and healthy cousin go from athletic and energetic football player/med student to intubated sweet-potato in a matter of days.

    Why? because he contracted covid at the grocery store, one peopled with the very same selfish fuckers who believe they have a constitutional and human right to spread covid from sea to shining sea.

    Do gooders and moralizing mid-sitters can extend their hands all they like. They can ask them would they please, pretty pretty please get vaccinated until RSHDs vote for AOC.

    Meanwhile, those of us who know who they are and have experienced, first hand, what they can do will call them who and what they are, no matter who wants to embrace them as brothers and respect their differences.
    The “tolerate the intolerant or you’re intolerant” argument is just as disgusting coming from the “flies with honey, even with bad people” crowd as it is coming from bigots who want to be bigots with impunity.

    Both of those camps can have several seats.

  64. Like I’ve said, the dominating emotion I’ve felt over the whole vaccine denial thing that you Americans do is, really, an unmitigated waste. The mask mandate resistance — you know, that’s assholery, but a familiar kind of assholery and entitlement I’ve seen before, even around here.

    But I’ve got family in Pennsylvania who apparently have to struggle with their school board who 1) have resisted the mask mandate for for K-12 kids, 2) do not make it compulsory for families to inform the school board of any COVID-19 infections that have occurred, in case other kids are exposed and 3) do not make it compulsory for the school board to report to the state healthcare authority of any outbreaks.

    The consensus that we have, over here, in a developing country that has a centralised response to the pandemic, mandates mask and quarantine rules by law, and STILL have rising cases of infection, is that Americans are insane and suicidal.

  65. “The consensus that we have, over here, in a developing country that has a centralised response to the pandemic, mandates mask and quarantine rules by law, and STILL have rising cases of infection, is that Americans are insane and suicidal.'”

    You are not wrong.

  66. It seems to me that the people who believe in social media overlap with (Venn Diagram) people who distrust the government about vaccines.
    Too bad these clowns won’t consult traditional media, where people with journalism ethics interview not merely the government, but scientists, researchers, nurses and so forth.

    As the T-shirt says, “Social Media Kills.”

  67. Didn’t “Drumph!” say nice things about COVID-19 vaccines before the election? Some irony there, even though operation warp speed was more of a “Stopped clock is right twice a day” sort of thing.

  68. “Do, pray tell, enlighten me how your ethical and moral stance is one whit different from that of the folks who said (and still do say), “Hey let all those faggots die of AIDS! Serves ’em right for making their lifestyle choice and they’re putting the rest of us at risk.””
    The argument I’m seeing most of isn’t “let them die” but if there’s no room in ICU, the vaccinated should be the ones who wait on space.
    And of course, anti-vax isn’t a lifestyle (neither is homosexuality), it’s a bad decision.

    “I disagree that Trump’s COVID reaction was because he was smugly ignorant.

    It’s because he was, always has been, and always will be, stinky LAZY. ”

    I don’t think that’s it. He didn’t have to do anything — just throw money at competent scientists, then get up there and make speeches (“I’m going to get us through this — until then, wear masks and social distance.”). If there’s one thing he loves, it’s being a performative president.

    His tiny brain, however, couldn’t see beyond the problem tarnishing his presidency, so his solution was to deny it existed, cover up evidence (considering sending infected travelers to Gitmo) and try to gain politically (Jared’s task force concluding this would mostly affect blue states, so political win!).

    And his entire party decided the most important thing for them to do was not hurt the Man Baby’s fee-fees so they avoided telling him he was full of shit.

  69. Fraser:

    ‘The argument I’m seeing most of isn’t “let them die” but if there’s no room in ICU, the vaccinated should be the ones who wait on space.’

    As well as the people who have some non-COVID-related disease or injury and are getting crowded out by the unvaccinated COVID cases.

  70. You actually made me laugh several times with this piece and you also taught me a new word that is perfect for Trump (poltroon).

    Thanks for both.

  71. Dear Mr. B (and Matthew),

    Not going to argue Essentialism here, because its way off-topic and an unresolvable question. (BTW, weirdly enough, I was one of the architects of the Essentialist position forty-mumble years ago — it was an act of political necessity and expediency.) ‘Kay?

    But what are lifestyle choices are the actions that spread HIV — risky sex, unprotected sex, nonmonogamous sex, cheating-on/lying-to-your-partner sex. Heck, even having sex at all! (I know queer folks who are celibate. I ain’t one of them, thank you very much! But they are a thing.)

    It is spread almost entirely by unintentional contagion. Other than a very small homicidal/suicidal contingent of psychotics, no one sets out to get nor transmit HIV! It claims “innocent” victims like most any other disease.

    All queer folk still do not practice safe sex. Most queer folk do not take the One-A-Day TruVitamin (yes, Mr. B, I do too, and good for you!) even now that it’s affordably generic (eat kitty litter and die, Gilead!!!).

    They know what they’re doing. They aren’t ignorant. They weren’t ignorant even in the midst of the AIDS crisis.

    Yes– lifestyle choices that killed bystanders and overwhelmed medical care in high incidence regions. I was there, I saw it.

    But what mostly killed people then and kills people today is moralizing about disease, deciding that for High-And-Mighty Moral Reasons, the ones who get ill deserve what happens to them.

    This is still one of the most serious problems in medicine. It’s why STD’s still aren’t under control, it’s why it took years to get effective treatments for ulcers accepted, it’s why substance abuse prevention care and treatment is totally screwed up, and it’s why mental illness treatment policy is barely out of the Victorian era. To name just four.

    So, no, I am not seeing much, if any difference. Continue with your dysfunctional moralizing, if you must, and I will continue to sneer.

    pax / Ctein

  72. Ctein
    “Do, pray tell, enlighten me how your ethical and moral stance is one whit different from that of the folks who said (and still do say), “Hey let all those faggots die of AIDS! Serves ’em right for making their lifestyle choice and they’re putting the rest of us at risk.”

    Being LGTBQ is not a choice. Being stupid and willfully pig-ignorant is.

    Back in my college days, in one of my ecology classes, one of the professors posed a selection question to entire class. He traveled frequently to South America. There was a particular species of frog that he was studying there. The frog species didn’t have any special armament or defense and was largely munched on by any number of organisms higher up on the food chain. In the evening, the frogs would start to sing their mating calls. They aren’t particularly bright, so if you make “blah blah blatt” noises at them, they will fling themselves out of the trees at you in the mistaken belief that you are a sexually-receptive frog of the right species.
    This makes them the perfect stand-in for human mating behavior.

    The question posed was: the frogs that called earlier in the evening were more likely to get eaten by predators but were also more likely to successfully mate. Is there a selection pressure/mechanism for calling early or later, and if so, is it cyclical or constant and for which behavior is it selecting?

    Naturally, we argued all the possible permutations (population increase, population dominance in an ecological niche, how tasty are those frogs really to predators, are they preferred prey, and if so, is it all the time, does the calling early relate to population size & density [intraspecies competition]), etc.

    80% of the frogs call early.

    Something that ought to be kept in mind when crafting AIDS policy.

    The sexual drive is the second strongest drive in the human species and it frequently overrides the first, which is self-preservation.

    Being gay is not a choice. And the gay community didn’t initially realize that AIDS (back when it was still GRID and ARC) was a disease, the community was trying to figure out what was causing the increase in various cancers population incidence in the gay community with no help from the government or other large medical organizations. At least until the larger population worked out that THEY could die from this disease too. THEN it was a priority.

    Refusing to wear a mask or follow social distancing rules or getting vaccinated has absolutely NOTHING to do with any kind of genetic imperative to reproduce and EVERYTHING to do with being stupid, selfish and unbelievably myopic.

    So yes, really, start letting these people die from their own stupidity. Why should someone who served their country honorably and bravely in the various Middle East wars die from an eminently treatable gall bladder condition solely because there are no available hospital beds, because a large number of those same beds are occupied by people, who at this point anyway, are largely there because of the stupid selfish choices that they made?

    FYI, the US government’s willful blindness towards AIDS coupled with its fawning obsequiousness to any type of big business, particularly if that business is going to be inconvenienced in any way, did far more to kill Americans than gay people did. You actually have to work fairly hard to be infected with AIDS (sexual contact, bodily fluid cross contamination, etc. You can’t get AIDS by sneezing.) For years the federal and state governments refused to force blood donations companies (a highly lucrative business BTW) to individually bag and test each donation because it would pose “an undue burden” on those businesses. NO. An undue burden is watching a fellow high school classmate’s parents both die slowly and horribly from AIDS from a routine surgery with a blood transfusion with untested contaminated blood. (Yes, blood donor companies used to just sort all the donations by blood type and dump all the donations of one blood type into one container. Yes, really.)
    Every inch a Republican trophy wife!

    Put the willfully unvaccinated (the ones who WON’T get vaccinated, not the ones who CAN’T) out on the curb and let natural selection do its thing.

  73. I hope the people who like to sneer down at any group they don’t feel compassion toward and say, “geez, we need a new plague” learn from this pandemic experience. I would also like to stop hearing that and other versions of “we should cull the herd” in regards to climate change. People are one of the most amazing resources ever produced by this solar system, act accordingly.

  74. I’m starting to think, given this sort of thing is showing up in multiple countries at once, it’s actually a combination of multiple things.

    Firstly: a powerful media apparatus which is very much geared toward generating short-term controversy to drive consumer traffic (aka “Murdoch media” – the Murdoch tabloid newspapers in the UK and Australia, Fox news in the USA, Sky News in the UK and Australia) and which prides itself on being “the power behind the throne” in nation-level politics. Basically, “It Was The Sun Wot Won It” sums up the position of the Murdoch media when it comes to national elections – there is a very strong tradition of wanting to exert ownership over the electoral success of their preferred (usually right-wing) politicians, and through this ownership, exerting control. Also, you don’t need this particular media apparatus to be the majority media owner in your country (although this helps) – what you need is for it to be perceived to be the best selling media model, and thus warping the rest of the media in the country around to this model.

    Secondly: a long-term tendency toward electing politicians who put on a good media performance (in the sense of ‘they are entertaining to see on television’) rather than people who are actually competent to do the job. This is encouraged by the media apparatus listed above – the media focuses on the politicians who put on a good media performance, ignoring their actual competence for the task in front of them, and means we’re selecting largely from the people who give the best performances on television. Actual ability to perform administrative work, and competence at handling the complexity of the job isn’t a consideration. Which means over the years, we elect politicians who are less and less competent at actually governing, but better and better at putting on a performance for the masses. (Donald Trump in the US, Boris Johnson in the UK, and Tony Abbott here in Australia are the exemplars of the “incompetent at politics, brilliant media performers” type who wind up at the top of politics – particularly right-wing politics – these days).

    Thirdly, and most importantly: a long term tendency, encouraged within multiple cultural spheres, toward fostering tribal behaviour in the majority of the population. Now, tribal behaviour has two main markers – the first is a strong tendency toward encouraging an “authoritarian follower” style of living, where the dictates of a leader are to be followed absolutely and without question; the second is a strong tendency toward a mode of thinking which effectively decrees everything which is not mandatory is forbidden. More and more we’re seeing tribalist social groupings cropping up – sporting teams, religious faiths, fandoms, political allegiances. Now, the thing about tribalism is it helps the person engaged in it make sense of the world; if you follow the commands of the leader, and you follow the rules of the tribe, the world will make sense – this is the “social contract” as offered by a tribal system. Most of the time it works, for values of “works” which include “makes the world a consistent place, and gives me clearly understandable reasons why things went wrong”.

    Tribespeople don’t make good participants in democratic systems, because democracy as a system presumes everyone who is involved is an aristocrat – one of the people who does the thinking, a person who is willing to consider all the options before them and make their choices based on the overall welfare of everyone else. Meanwhile tribespeople are good at turning out (when it’s mandatory) but bad at thinking about things (having your own opinion you thought up yourself is largely forbidden in tribal systems – you’re expected to share the opinion of your leader), so they’ll vote following the rules of the tribe or the preferences of the leader.

    Final complicating factor: we don’t have just one or two tribes here. We have multiple different tribes – we have the tribe of GOP supporters, the tribe of Trumpkins, the tribe of Q-Anon believers, the tribe of 5G fearers, the tribe of anti-vaccinators, the tribe of conservative Christians, the tribe of Glibertarians, the tribe of left-wing Wellness promoters, the tribe of African-origined medical skeptics and probably a number of others as well – and each of them are promoting something subtly different to their followers, each for subtly different reasons, but all of them are having the same overall effect: people don’t get vaccinated, people don’t follow public health directions.

  75. Robert John Woodhead:

    Of particular concern are the significant minority of nurses (particular in red states) who, despite having seen first-hand what Covid does, are anti-vax. The non-insane nurses are expressing concern that when the mandates come in, they’ll quite rather than get vaccinated, pushing the entire system even further into collapse than it is now.

    Nurses who interact with patients and will not get vaccinated against infectious disease are only cosplaying as medical care providers. It’s a basic requirement for the job, in the same way that the ability to use force only as necessary and appropriate is a basic requirement for a police officer’s job, or the ability to climb a ladder is a basic requirement for a firefighter’s job. Such nurses put at risk precisely those people who are most vulnerable, who are already dealing with urgent medical problems. It’s an affirmative good, if such nurses quit, just as it is an affirmative good if a nurse who refuses to wash their hands quits. First, do no harm, and that includes, “Don’t be a disease vector, to the extent that it’s possible to avoid it”.

    The same goes for all emergency responders. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, soldiers, sailors… all should seek other employment if they refuse to be vaccinated.

    When they quit, the quality of care and the quality of response improve.

    The Gneech:

    I don’t understand it, never have understood it, and never will. Like, what’s the desired result? What’s the win condition?

    They get to be self-righteous and feel the comforting illusion of control in a scary situation. You’re trying to follow their reasoning. There is no reasoning to follow, only emotional reaction and rationalization in support of it.


  76. I’m standing in the garden of Edward Jenner’s house in Berkeley, south Gloucestershire which is now a museum. Vaccines work, Smallpox was eradicated, but it took over 180 years and massive political will and societal support for that global killer to be isolated and eradicated from existence. Interestingly, in the exhibition it also shows there were anti-vaxxers in 1860’s England.

  77. I have sympathy for these folks and, will defend, to an extent, their reasons for going unvaccinated.

    The political anti-vaxxers and freedom-loving super-spreaders are, by contrast, garbage people, as are those who defend them.

    In any event, Biden isn’t playing Mr. nice guy with anti-vaxxers any longer, so we’ll see what happens.

    No need to moralize in any direction when anti-vaxxers and unvaccinated can’t work, attend a concert or go to class without proving that they’ve complied.

    They’ll either get jabbed or have a very bad time. Period.

  78. Grace
    “[Unvaccinated nurses] are only cosplaying as medical care providers” is PERFECT.

    Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccination was the first modern–and morally sketchiest–vaccine. It’s also problematic–it does cause brain inflammation and not everyone can take it (eczema sufferers, pregnant women, etc.) but the odds of dying from the smallpox vaccination were far smaller than the odds of dying from smallpox itself. You might enjoy The Demon In The Freezer by Richard Preston (I sure did) which is the story of how smallpox vaccination was extirpated from the face of the planet. (It lives–if you can consider a virus which is not currently in a host as alive–only in the CDC freezers and ostensibly, in Russian Biopreparat freezers. Spoiler: it was eradicated by scientists and hippies!) Also, the newspaper cartoons at the time are a laugh riot–people turning into cows or budding cows out of various body parts after being vaccinated–are hilarious and show just how long anti-vaxxers have clung to the underbelly of the human race.

    The waste is agonizing to me, particularly when SO MANY people would crawl over broken glass to get vaccinated against Covid 19. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to rich countries that NONE of us are safe unless ALL of us are safe. Even for people who lack the compassion, you would think enlightened self interest would be sufficient reason to throw money and resources at the problem until it was solved. Unfortunately, infrastructure is also an issue. Most of the available vaccines have to be kept cold or super-cold (Pfizer). Even in the US, there were problems with shipping the Pfizer vaccine due to its requirement of -80°F temp until it’s ready to be injected. The very real problems of poor roads, electricity and various civil wars, terrorists and garden variety thieves, criminals, kidnappers for profit, drug cartels (well, the illegal ones anyway) and gangs all have to be addressed and resolved (at least enough to get a vaccine program set up) before vaccines are shipped out large scale. It won’t do any good to ship large quantities of vaccine if they are only going to rot in port because there’s some type of Somalia/Somaliland civil war and pirate situation going on. The US tried to get food to starving Somalis during the civil war and the only thing that happened was that the warlords got fed for free and American troops died. Americans aren’t the only ones who are insane and suicidal or lacking in enlightened self interest. And while many countries are and have pretty much always been poor, I’m giving a lot of side-eye to the BRIC countries (and others) who were awash in cash and trade and didn’t invest so much as a dime in their country’s infrastructure when they had the means to do so. No, they just went on a decades-long party with the money and when the economic goods times ended, started whining that they needed aid from rich countries to save them. (looking at you Saudi Arabia & Qatar. Please explain the palaces for princes and poverty for followers.)

    I mean, are we really? People are destroying this planet and are currently destroying each other with their jaw-dropping stupidity over Covid 19 vaccination refusal. There’s substantial room for improvement in the human species. And honestly, other people aren’t culling the unvaccinated, they’re culling themselves. (Although refusing to get vaccinated if you live with kids under 12 seems tantamount to child abuse, or at least reckless endangerment or neglect.) I’m not suggesting that the unvaccinated & Covid 19 infected in hospitals have the various life support systems ripped out of them in order to make room for new patients. I AM suggesting that the anti-vaxxers should go to the back of the line for medical care. Being part of human society entails obligations to that society. If you aren’t willing to take one for the team, you don’t get to enjoy the benefits of human society either.

    Has it occurred to anyone that this is the slow-rolling 21st century version of the Black Death? The virus is ideally situated to prey on the human species. It takes advantage of the human need for social contact and interaction, the curious human myopia for slow-moving disasters (we respond really well to immediate danger but really poorly to distant but inevitable dangers) and is constantly mutating (it’s a retrovirus and like most retroviruses, it’s a supermutator) and now it’s evolved to be MORE infectious, having had a selection pressure for greater infectiousness by the people who masked and socially distanced but kept alive and in constant circulation among the population that won’t mask and won’t socially distance (the virus reservoir in which the virus can continue to exist, propagate and mutate.)

    Whenever any population of organisms become too large, usually a disease thins the herd. Covid 19 is currently doing what any other predator is doing: following the herd, concentrating in areas with the greatest amount of prey and killing off the weakened members of the herd. Measles and smallpox weren’t even a thing for humans until humans invented agriculture and started concentrating in large(r) population, at which point certain infectious diseases sat up and took notice.

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