‘Covid is over’, this young cashier said to me cheerfully while still wearing a mask. She took me by surprise and I repeated her sentiment back to her thinking I might have misunderstood her. It happens to me all the time when speaking to people wearing masks. I feel like a half-mute and often ask them to repeat themselves. ‘Yes, thankfully it’s over,’ the young woman said. Isn’ it?’
‘For some it is for sure,’ Camp said, taking a sip from his pint. ‘For those of us who are double vaccinated I’d like to think that covid-19 is over. Of course, if you’re a public health or a hospital worker in Florida, then the pandemic is far from done. In fact, it’s worse now, when people end up in hospital because of their own doing. The unvaccinated are now filling the wards, hospitals and churches. And we, the vaccinated, have to pay for their self-indulgent ignorance, foolishness and outright culpability. I’m fed up with pandering to their harebrained, myopic and harmful behavior?’ Camp said, rather grumpy.
‘It also seems that the places with the highest new infection rates are those with the least healthy populations. Obesity is a good indicator of poor health. High blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease follow,’ I said.
‘Illiteracy also comes into play,’ Camp said.
‘Let’s face it, less than half of Americans are proficient readers and according to their own health department, only a dozen percent of their citizens are health literate, meaning the rest can’t properly read prescriptions. Combine that with a lack of access to health care and you’re bound to have a vaccination problem.’
‘I find it hard to believe that people want to harm themselves and chose not to get vaccinated. It just doesn’t make sense,’ I said.
‘Enter Joseph Mercola from Florida who is at the top of the twelve most influential vaccine skeptics on Twitter and Facebook, according to a study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. This dirty dozen is responsible for 65 percent of all corona hoaxes and misinformation on the two platforms in the U.S. Among the top three are Robert F. Kennedy, an offspring of the sprawling Kennedy family who drifted into the antivaxx camp years ago, and Erin Elizabeth, who runs the Health Nut News website. And coincidentally is Mercola’s girlfriend. He is now public health-enemy number one in the US.’
‘Here in BC, we have almost a million people not vaccinated, about 20% and I hate to repeat myself, almost all newly infected are not immunized. We should borrow a slogan from Nike: Just do it!’
I wanted to change the subject to something less abrasive. ‘Have you been watching any Olympics?’
‘Unlike you, I have to work all day and have no time to watch overnight TV.’
‘I tape it and then watch my own highlights, like soccer, gymnastics and bicycle racing. Did you see the three Swiss women winning all 3 medals in the women’s cross country mountain bike race? A total sweep.’
‘Queens of the mountains, how appropriate for the Swiss.’
We were ready for a refill. In this persistent hot weather beer goes down much too easy. Vicky was still wearing a mask, although she was double jabbed. ‘I don’t know most of the customers in the summer and I just feel more secure wearing a mask even though it’s very uncomfortable in this heat,’ she said. ‘But you might not see me as much in the future since I’m going back to school in September. I’ve been accepted into the BCIT nursing program and I can do a lot of the studies from home.’
That’s one of the upsides of this pandemic,’ I said, ‘it shifted a lot of studies away from campus and made it more accessible to single moms like Vicky.’
‘We’ll miss you,’ I said. ‘Maybe you could just sign up for the Thursday evening shifts?’
‘To be your personal server?’
‘No, because our Thirsty Thursday’s won’t be the same without you.’
It makes perfect sense to us that a majority of USA citizens are health illiterate. Every time we went to Ron’s oncologist doctors, the doctors introduced us to their interns as “very intelligent” people. It always made us laugh.