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Listening to the Experts was a Mistake

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic began, we were admonished to “listen to the experts … the doctors … the scientists.”  I took that advice because I thought it was the best way to proceed.  We know that the politicians and the press do not FOLLOW the facts, they SPIN them.  So, I focused on the scientists and raw data for my information.

Well let me tell you, following the experts has not been all that it was promised to be.  For sure, it was still better than heeding the interpretations of the political class and the Fourth Estate – but not as beneficial as one might have hoped – as I did.

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster. And there appears to be two reasons for that.  First, the information coming from the media was distorted and conflicting.  But more importantly, the nature of the advice changed as we learned more about the Pandemic.  That led to Dr. Anthony Fauci first saying the virus would not impact on the United States to any serious degree.  (Yes, he said that, and the video is on the record.)  He also advised us that mask wearing was not necessary unless a person showed symptoms.

In those early days – based on what the leading scientists were telling us — I did not worry too much about Covid-19.  I did not have symptoms and I did not go around with a mask.

Then we were told by those television doctors that the infected needed to wear masks, but that the face covering was not effective in preventing contracting the disease. But because of the impact on older folks with serious complications, the experts advised them to wear masks virtually all the time – indoors or out.  So … only the sick and frail needed to wear them.  I am one of those older folks and I do have some of those underlying conditions, but I am not frail.  Therefore, I did not go around wearing a mask.

Then the shutdown started.  Indoor masking, social distancing, washing hands continuously and warnings to not touch your nose, mouth or eyes — and wipe off every surface touched by a human with muriatic acid.  (I exaggerated to make a point.)  Well … then the scientists said that actually, the virus does not spread from surfaces.  Even touching your face or skipping that 100-times-per-day handwashing was not a significant preventative because you needed to inhale “vast amounts” of the virus to overcome your immune system.  That was what Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel told me over the tube – and others confirmed.

For a while, seniors were subjected to a form of solitary confinement.  Remember all the grannies pressing against the window as they watched the kids and grandkids blowing kisses from the front lawn?  I was not one of those.  I did not have Covid and I did not think it likely I would get it – or that it would kill me if I did — so I traveled about as much as I could without a mask, considering there were a lot less places to go.

After suggesting universal masking – indoors and out – the scientists changed again.  They said that being outdoors is not only safe, but it is good.  Some even said safer than staying at home if you allowed family and friends around.  We should go out into the fresh air as long as we did not mingle in crowds.  Catching Covid by passing an infected person on the street is virtually impossible, sayeth the scientists.

Of course, we closed the schools to protect the kids – even though they were not getting sick in significant numbers. Then the scientists determined that schools were actually safer environments than the home – and the kids would not continue to suffer the terrible outcomes of NOT being at school.  That debate between doctors and the school unions is still going on.

Folks on the ground did not ever follow the masking outdoor requirement, I have to say. Of the thousands of people I saw over many months — walking, jogging, bike riding, playing tennis or shopping in open-air malls — rarely did I see a mask.

Indoors was quite different.  Most places that re-opened required masks – although with restaurants it was only to gain admission.  One does not eat with a mask on.

All this time, I watched the official statistics for the nation and for my area – and I judged my response accordingly. 

Then came vaccine and the scientists told us that it was 95 percent effective in preventing me from getting Covid.  That meant the Pandemic was over for me because I got the vaccine.  I could go about without fear of contracting the disease or spreading it, they said. 

I think those who refuse to get the vaccine for no valid reason are foolish.  But that is on them because they cannot infect me with Covid – at least it is EXTEMEMeLY unlikely.

Yes, there have been some rare cases of what they call “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated folks, but those cases are very mild or completely asymptomatic.  There are no significant numbers of hospitalizations and no deaths recorded among the vaccinated.  Wearing a mask to prevent getting a mild chill for a day or two was an unreasonable burden, in my judgment.  So, I continued to go around maskless unless required to do so in some indoor venues, such as hospital and airports.

But now those same scientists and doctors want me to mask up again — and maintain social distancing like I did when the Pandemic was at its peak and before I got the vaccine.  They say I could still contract Covid and still spread it.  WHAT?  That is exactly the opposite of what they have been telling me since the vaccines started getting into people’s arms.

They admit it would be very rare, but still POSSIBLE.  Well POSSIBLE is not good enough for me.  Every moment of my life it is POSSIBLE that something bad will happen to me.  If I lived my life out of fear of the POSSIBLE, I would have to be an older version of the “bubble boy” – confined to my highly sterile environment wondering what is safe to eat.  I would be like that granny experiencing the world through a window.  And even then, it would be POSSIBLE something bad would happen.

For months, during the worst of the Pandemic, kids were mostly resistant for some reason.  The statistics confirm that.  And now we have the reversal on the kids.  So, we closed the schools and imposed a dangerous hardship on America’s students – and their parents.  Now they say kids are highly vulnerable to the Delta variant.  The numbers of kids getting sick is rising, they say.  But are they?  Is it the numbers that are rising or the percentage rising? 

I have seen reports that say that “a higher percentage of kids are getting infected.”  That could be because the vast majority of the older folks are now vaccinated or immune by virtue of having had Covid?  Different scientists answer that question differently.  The issue is not clear.

The move to going back to pre-vaccination masking is now getting a negative response from those of us who got the vaccine or are otherwise immune.  And why not?  According to the statistics, my chance of contracting Covid is tiny, tiny, tiny.  And my chance of spreading it is ever tinier.

The key to the future is to get more people to get the vaccine.  I am all for that.  But the scientists cannot even agree on the number of unvaccinated.  President Biden bragged about having 100 million Americans vaccinated in his first 100 days.  You also will recall that Biden called for 70 percent of all Americans should be vaccinated by Independence Day. 

We watched the numbers of vaccinated increase every day.  As we approached the Fourth of July, the numbers in the corner of our television screens keep rising.  Would Biden reach his goal or not?  At one point, the total percentage of Americans with at least one shot was in the high 60 percentile or about 220 million citizens – just short of the Biden goal.

Have you looked that the numbers in the corner of those screens lately?  At one point, they dropped to about 55 percent vaccinated.  And now I see that only 49 percent of Americans are currently fully vaccinated.  That is approximately 160 million of us.  That would suggest that 60 million Americans got un-vaccinated in the past month. 

In the face of all this controversy and chaos, I am sticking with the basic facts that have not changed over time.  Since my vaccine is 95 percent effective – and if I got Covid, it would be very mild – I am not donning a mask unless required to do so in individual settings.  I am not avoiding crowds.  I am willing to hug, kiss and shake hands with others who are equally willing.  As far as I am concerned, I am passed the Pandemic – and I am passed being jerked around by the scientists, the politicians and the media that cannot get their act together.

My recommendation is for our experts and authorities to myopically focus on the problem and get more people to get the vaccine for their own good – and forget about all the extreme masking proposals.  It does not matter to me personally if people get the vaccine or not.  They are not a threat to me.  But I say to the unvaccinated, for God’s sake get the shot.  Except in extreme and justified cases, your excuses are … sorry to say … just stupid.

So, there ‘tis.

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