As I have been stating for several weeks now, I believe, that the problem is the misinformation and out-and-out lies that are being spread across the nation and even around the world. Politicians politicize the pandemic while other people fail to understand the problem.
For more on the dangers of misinformation, read:
Misinformation Encourages COVID to Spread
How Dangerous Is Misinformation?
We Can’t Stop COVID because of Politicians.
Peter C. Herman, Professor of English at San Diego State University, has offered a different opinion that I think we should listen to and consider.
In Newsweek this week, Professor Herman states,
“Five Republican-led states—Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee—have extended unemployment benefits to anyone who loses their job because they refused a COVID vaccine.”
In other words, certain Republicans are rewarding people for refusing the vaccine.
“This is insanity. In the midst of an uptick in a deadly pandemic, it is absolutely ludicrous to give people an incentive to refuse to [take] the vaccine. And if you tell me that benefits do not incentivize behavior, allow me to direct your attention to the many Republicans who have spent their careers arguing that unemployment incentivizes laziness.”
Just Because Someone Makes a Bad Decision, You Can’t Call It Insane.
As a psychologist, I understand Professor Herman’s frustration, but I must remind all of us, that no, this is not insanity. When we are frustrated with someone or something, we all have a tendency to say, “that's insane.” I definitely agree that encouraging people to NOT take the vaccine is very, very bad. Yet, it’s not insane.
Let’s turn to clinical psychologist Dr. Ryan Howes, Ph. D. for a definition. Insanity is a
“…mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis [having lost contact with reality] or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.”
Dr. Howe's article in Psychology Today is easy to read, and I hope you'll go and read the entire article. It's both entertaining and enlightening.
We need to quit confusing bad decisions with mental illness. Perfectly sane people make bad decisions every day. If you need an example, I consider anyone who has refused to take the COVID vaccine or going out in public not wearing a mask to be a person who is making a bad decision. Yet, that person is not insane.
It is clear that such bad decisions are making COVID-19 spread and continue to spread across the nation and around the world.
We Can’t Stop COVID Because People Keep Making Bad Decisions.
Making a bad decision or encouraging someone to make a bad decision is not an example of insanity, but bad decisions are causing COVID to spread and get worse—which means more people are getting sick and dying. Look at the numbers. As CBS News reports:
“As the Omicron variant continues to sweep across the U.S., especially in the Northeast, unvaccinated people of all ages are at increased risk — including children. The U.S. is averaging 260 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations a day, up nearly 30% from last week.
Health officials say pediatric hospitalizations in New York City rose nearly five-fold from the start of December. Almost all of those children were unvaccinated.”
What Is Causing People to Make Such Bad Decisions?
There is no question that bad decisions are fueling the spread of COVID-19? So, why are people willing to believe misinformation?
I think the real problem is that politicians are willing to risk someone else’s life so that they may gain a few more votes in the next election. No, it's not insane, but it is also not how one human being should treat another. Let's look at some facts.
Herman was correct when he wrote that Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee are adding legislation that will in fact give people unemployment benefits if they lose their job because they will not get the COVID vaccine.
Herman is also correct when he says that such legislative action by conservative states will make COVID continue.
The fear and the misinformation that some people are spewing out about the COVID vaccines is actually killing people and allowing COVID to continue to spread and change into new variants. Yes, every time you refuse the vaccine or refuse to wear a mask, you are helping COVID-19 continue to spread and kill people.
Look at Donald Trump, who recently was asked if he had been vaccinated and received his booster shot. Trump said, "Yes…." Bill O’Reilly also said, "I got it too…."
Bill's Post: Trump Asked His Supporters to Take the Vaccine
We Can’t Stop COVID because People Are Treating a Medical Problem as if It Is a Political Question.
COVID-19 kills. Not getting vaccinated leads to the spread of COVID-19 and can kill. Therefore, Professor Herman is correct when he says that encouraging people not to get the COVID vaccine is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and the death of more people from COVID. Providing financial incentives to not get vaccinated is definitely contributing to the growth and continuance of COVID-19.
As Professor Herman states in his article,
“…not so long ago Republican states cut unemployment benefits because, they thought, they encouraged people not to find jobs.
“Republicans claim that they want to make the COVID vaccine a matter of choice…. But if the pathway to safety is indeed "paved in freedom," why stop with COVID vaccines? There are many other government mandates that stand in the way of freedom.
“Seatbelts, for example: Most states have mandatory seatbelt laws (New Hampshire is the exception) for adults. All states mandate that children must be buckled in. …why not make seatbelts subject to parental choice as well? Shouldn't we trust parents to know and do what's best for their children?
“Each state also requires that children receive various vaccines (polio, chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella) before entering kindergarten.
“Moreover, by their logic, if getting a vaccine is a matter of choice, shouldn't hospitals and health insurance companies have the choice to refuse treatment to people who get sick because they refused the vaccine? Shouldn't they have the freedom to prioritize breakthrough cases and other, non-COVID related illnesses and diseases?
“Republicans, after all, are supposed to favor holding people accountable for their behavior. Should an increasingly rare ICU bed go to someone who acted responsibly? Or irresponsibly?
“In their drive to oppose any and all Democratic policies, Republicans are leading their followers to an early grave. Truly, the Republican Party has turned into a death cult.”
Yes, Professor Herman strays a little heavily into the world of opinion, but he does clearly label his piece as “opinion.” I would have to agree that rewarding people for refusing to take the COVID vaccine is truly wrong. It will just prolong the coronavirus pandemic and cause more people to die. I truly do not see how you can justify such an action. It's time to stop playing politics with people's lives. We need to care about one another. We need to help each other. We are supposed to be an educated society; it's time that we prove it.
Professor Herman’s article is well written, and I hope you'll read it and think about what he says.
For more on political control, read
Exactly Who Is in Control of Your Life?
We Cannot Stop the Coronavirus Pandemic Because People Will Not Believe the Truth.
The truth is that the COVID vaccine is safe, even for children.
Yes, I know that a popular TV network had someone on the air this week saying that the vaccine is not safe for children. That is wrong. Such statements are misinformation and will cause many children to get sick and even some will die.
Check medical sources for medical facts. We want to remember that COVID vaccines are safe and effective. Look at the facts. Look at how many people have safely taken the Covid vaccine.
You must also get your booster shot, especially with omicron spreading across the nation.
Don't listen to information from politicians, social media, or even your favorite radio or TV host. Search for the truth.
Get the facts, and no, there are no “alternative facts.” There is only one set of facts. When you reinterpret or distort the facts, you are spreading misinformation. Misinformation kills people.