Nel's New Day

December 27, 2021

COVID’s Political Problems

President Joe Biden promised to help states with the pandemic but told governors that states need to take the lead in controlling the coronavirus, meaning they will be responsible for infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Thus far, the number of infections per 1 million have varied from 225,108 in North Dakota to 73,293 in Hawaii with deaths per million between 3,494 in Mississippi and 739 in Vermont. Despite heavy criticism for the pandemic handling from conservatives in my state of Oregon, the infection rate is second from the bottom at 98,190 below only six states below Oregon at 1,333 deaths per million.

A major reason for these differences is state administration. At least 19 states created laws this year blocking state or local authorities from public health guards such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and promoting or requiring vaccinations. Legislatures in other states are considering similar statutes, all in the name of “individual liberties” and allow people “a voice in public health.” Ohio goes so far as to restrict closing restaurants to protect customers from an outbreak of foodborne disease. Montana doesn’t require vaccinations for anyone working in hospitals or clinics in opposition to a federal order.  

Politics have played a huge part in hospitalizations and deaths because of deaths. The new Omicron variant and the skyrocketing rate of infections and deaths in some states has caused a spate of vaccinations, but blue states have above average rates of vaccinations with red states below average. The vaccination map looks like the election map with battleground states in the middle. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is an example of the Republican attitude when he tweets “Real America is done with #COVID19” and later called the public health protection policies a “two-year attack on our liberties.” Since vaccines became common, states voting for DDT have an over 50 percent higher risk of people dying from the coronavirus. Since February 1, 2021, red states have an average of 116 COVID deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 77 deaths in blue states. Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—all states voting for DDT—have the worst per capita death rates. The difference between red and blue counties is even more pronounced.

The numbers for red states may be less than accurate. The state’s health department found an undercount in two labs of 7,699 COVID cases during nine months this year. Missouri’s incumbent Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also a U.S. Senate candidate, has already declared mask mandates, quarantines, and other public health policies illegal. He also told public health agencies in several counties to stop “announcements of current cases/deaths.”

Five states that refused federal unemployment benefits because of “lazy people not looking for work,” are now rewarding jobless people who refused vaccinations by giving them state unemployment. Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have passed laws for the benefit and other Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming may follow. Despite protests to vaccines, under five percent of workers have left jobs anywhere because of vaccination mandates.

The media also plays a large part in causing infections and deaths. A study from last year shows that people relying on conservative media and social media are more likely to have inaccurate beliefs about COVID’s seriousness. The poll also agreed with the red-blue state results: Republicans worry less than Democrats that they or family members would be exposed and less likely to consider COVID a major health threat. The same conservatives are also more likely to trust worthless preventions and cures and thought CDC was using the virus to undermine DDT instead of DDT actually undermining CDC. Over a year later, much more is known about the coronavirus, the conservative media is much more likely to lie about the knowledge, and conservatives less likely to believe its dangers.

Among religious groups, the evangelicals have the lowest acceptance of vaccinations—41 percent compared to 60 percent to 72 percent percent of other Christians and Jewish Americans. By now, religious anti-Vaxxers are so hardwired in their beliefs that only one percent self-identified as vaccine refusers said they might change their minds if a religious leader encouraged them to reverse their opinion. Only 11 percent of vaccine hesitant would be vaccinated with persuasion from a religious leader.

Even DDT, their cult leader, cannot convince them after he was negative or lukewarm about vaccinations for over a year. In the midst of his campaign five years ago, DDT claimed he could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and people would still vote for him. The audience cheered. When he said he had gotten a COVID booster vaccination and said vaccines have “saved tens of millions of lives worldwide,” however, people booed.    

DDT went even farther in an interview with Candace Owens, a conservative talk show host. He told her “the vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind.” She pushed back, and he responded:

“Oh no, the vaccines work. The ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine…. If you take the vaccine, you’re protected… I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines all are very, very good.”

DDT wasn’t the scientist who developed the vaccine, but they went on the market before he left the White House. Right now, he wants the glory while he’s pursued in court by alleged crimes in Georgia, New York, and Washington, D.C. GOP pollster Frank Luntz thought DDT’s claim would cause Republicans to be vaccinated, but the result hasn’t been all positive. Far-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich said DDT was “alienating his own supporters to impress people who don’t like him.” Another conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, forced to pay plaintiffs on two different defamation charges, called DDT either “completely ignorant” or “the most evil man who has ever lived to push this toxic poison on the public and to attack your constituents when they simply try to save their lives and the lives of others.”

In what she may have thought was politeness, Owens stuck in the knife during a video on Instagram:

“People oftentimes forget, like, how old Trump is. Like they came from a time before TV, before internet, before being able to conduct their independent research.”

In the video, Owens, 32, also pushed colloidal silver to fight off the coronavirus, saying she takes a “teaspoon a day” or “more when I’m sick.” With no medical support for this purpose, colloidal silver, possibly causing organ failure, permanently turns the user’s skin a bluish-gray color, an irreversible syndrome called argyria.

The question is whether DDT’s vaccine promotion will regain suburban voters, as Joe Scarborough said he’s trying to do, while keeping his lunatic fringe. Known for his Christmas greetings from his family all holding semi-automatic guns, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said his voters and others like those who supported Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “weren’t voting for libertarian ideas—they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class, as we had up until he came along.” And DDT may be trying to keep his voters alive until 2024.

Hypocrisy runs rampant among Republicans. Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has pandered to every anti-health policy—vaccinations, wearing masks, etc.—and even owed $60,000 in fines for not wearing a mask on the House floor by mid-November. She also owns stocks in three different companies manufacturing COVID vaccines. Conservative Christians endanger people around them by using the “religious freedom” claim as a “get-out-of-vaccination-free” card even if they had to pay clergy to sign for religious exemptions. Then they used the claim for everything else they don’t like—abortion, although Jewish people state life beings at birth, not conception; travel from Muslim countries; LGBTQ rights; etc.

According to medical experts, neurological effects from COVID can create the inability to think clearly which includes headaches, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and vivid dreams as well as strokes and seizures with over 80 percent of COVID patients encountering complications. Even mild cases can alter brain activity analogous to mild cognitive impairment. And conservatives won’t get vaccinated.

People fighting vaccinations don’t realize that COVID can stay in the body’s organs—heart, brain, etc.—for at least up to eight months, according to autopsies up to 230 days after patients first reported symptoms. Disseminating during early infection, the disease infects cells throughout the entire body, widely in the brain as well as in eyes, muscles, skin, peripheral nerves, and tissues in the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and lymphatic systems. This research explains why long COVID exists in people with either mild or asymptomatic infections.

Deaths from COVID in the U.S. = 839,605 with over 1,000 a day. 

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