Loneliness and Hubris


‘Your island in the Caribbean is turning into a tragic experiment, sort of the Swedish version of fighting the virus with natural herd immunity at the end of the tunnel. Grenada is now the country with the highest numbers of transmission per capita in the world,’ Camp said when I joined him at our usual table overlooking the harbour.

            ‘Yes, according to Dr. Charles, the chief medical officer, it’s a national disaster.  He said that it took about three weeks for this virus to infect one third of the population and he fears that half the island’s people could be infected with the extremely contagious Delta variant within two weeks, meaning it will hit every susceptible and unvaccinated individual. Only about 20 percent of Grenadians have taken the vaccine. Dr. Charles said that it will hit a peak and then hopefully decline but at what cost?’

            ‘Grenada is not the only island nation with this dire outlook. Also, closer to home just look at Alberta and their overwhelmed ICU’s and spiraling infection rates. Even their health minister, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, takes part of the blame for the exponential surge in cases, admitting that lifting the public health restrictions in July was the wrong move.’

            ‘And we all know that the pandemic is now driven by the unvaccinated. There is no doubt about that.  According to a new analysis of data from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US saw 287,000 preventable Covid-19 hospitalizations from June to August at a cost of $ 5.7 billion dollars for treating the unvaccinated.’

            ‘Why is it that so many people refuse the vaccines despite the obvious success with keeping the virus at bay and the overwhelming evidence from hospitals and test results that the unvaccinated are driving the pandemic now?’ I asked Camp who I knew would have an answer. 

            ‘It’s a combination of narcissism, lack of education and loneliness,’ Camp said.

            ‘Loneliness?’

            ‘Yes, I believe many people who feel left out, have poor social skills and come from broken families and harsh backgrounds have found a home amongst the anti-vax movement. It gives them a sense of empowerment, of belonging; a place to vent their anger at the world, the politicians and the science which they don’t understand.’ 

            ‘Sounds similar to the climate change deniers.’

            ‘And then there are those who are educated and smart in many ways but view the world through a myopic, navel gazing lens with their bodies a sacred vessel.’

            ‘Oh boy. Facts and figures, arguments and reasoning will not convince these folks since they have already made up their mind that the facts are fake and two plus two equals five. The truth is whatever they believe, reinforced by their friends and the conspirators on social media.’

            ‘Would they rather get sick and even die, than take the vaccine?’

            ‘In the last month alone, five US radio talk show hosts, who were rabid covid deniers and anti-vaxxers, have died from the virus.’ Camp said. ‘The latest was Marc Bernier, a Daytona, Florida talk radio host who called himself: ‘Mr. Anti-Vax.’

            ‘The good news is that over 6 billion doses have been administered, keeping people out of hospitals and from dying.’ 

            ‘The mandatory vaccine IDs will spurn on some more people to get the jab,’ I said. 

            ‘Many of those refusing to take the shots feel persecuted and believe their individual rights are being trampled on. The only way to save face and give them a way out is to appeal to them to get the shot in order to protect the community. Unless they take it because they need to travel or be allowed to enter some functions, basically if it furthers their personal agenda.’

            ‘Whatever happened to: be calm, be kind and be safe?’

            ‘Well, kindness is all but evaporating with regards to the anti-vaxxers and calm has given way to anger and finger pointing and nobody is safe unless they are vaccinated. We’re in a different phase of this pandemic now but yes, kindness is still a much needed commodity.’

            ‘What do you think of the vaccine ID’s, in effect here since Monday?’ I asked Vicky when she brought around a second round, without a mask for the first time in a month.

            ‘It’s the best thing to happen for my job and the pub. I feel a lot saver knowing that all the patrons are immunized.’

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