If you were faced with a life-or-death situation, which pathway would you choose?
The way eventually leading to life? Or, the one to your eventual death?
I’ve never given that drastic choice much thought until millions of Americans decided to forego getting a vaccine shot to protect against the ravages - and often death - associated with COVID.
But, for one idiotic decision or another, we’re going to have this disease around for many years. If not forever. Because of the unwillingness of about 30% of Americans to protect themselves - to protect the rest of us.
The most accurate figure I’ve found for the number vaccinated is from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Something like 70%. Just over two-thirds of us have gotten the shots. Leaving about a full one-third unprotected and some, most likely, carrying the virus. To share. Recent hospital reports are pretty consistent. About 95/98-percent of new patients are unvaccinated, with the death rate in the 80-90 percent range.
Choice. Life or death.
On the plus side, the last 20 months or so have given medical professionals time to develop some effective protocols to lower the vaccinated COVID death rate. On the down side, the unvaccinated are still dying at staggering numbers. Many by their own bad choice.
But, the plot is about to thicken. Pfizer has announced a vaccine that is effective - and thus far safe - for five-to-11-year-olds. It’s almost certain the drug will quickly be granted government approval.
The thicker plot? What do anti-vaxxers John and Mary Doe decide for their kids? Will they allow the kids to get shots? Or, will they almost certainly doom them to contract the disease? Are the justifications - excuses - the parents have made for themselves also fitting for their beloved children? If they decide to get the kids protected, will John and Mary get a shot themselves?
Deciding for oneself how to live your life is one thing. Making a life-or-death decision for your offspring is much different. Much tougher. What will the unvaxxed decide?
There’s an Arizona county up near the Grand Canyon. Mojave County. Near the Arizona-Utah border. Lots of folks living the “independent“ lifestyle. Lots of Trumpers. A good many living in the back country. “Rugged individuals” as they say.
And the vaccination rate thereabouts in Mojave County? How about 38%? Yep, just 38.
County seat for Mojave county is Kingman. Literally millions of folks pass through there for Grand Canyon and Interstate access. Motels. Restaurants. Bed and Breakfasts. Camping. Tourist rides. Gas stations. Millions of people staying temporarily in Kingman or passing through.
And the COVID protected crowd is just over 38%. What are the odds of some of those millions of tourists being exposed to - and contracting - COVID? Most people coming and going through Kingston probably have no idea about how low the vaccination rate is there. Millions of people.
And another thing: what the hell is so personally threatening to folks about a COVID shot? Anyone living in Mojave County who was in the military got a lot of shots. Anyone who went to grade school got vaccinated for half-a-dozen diseases. If you’ve lived to be an “adult,” you’ve had experience with the needle.
Why this stubborn resistance now? And the kids. Is that same bullheaded choice you’ve made for yourself OK for them, too? Really?
Watching national vaccination percentages for the next few months will be instructive. I’d bet we see a slow increase.
If not, some parents will have made terrible choices.