Analysis: The tragedy of the victims of the Covid who said no to the vaccine

Michael Freedy, a father of five in Las Vegas, could still be the light in his children’s lives. Instead, they will always be haunted by one of his last heartbreaking texts before his death on Thursday: “I should have been vaccinated.”

Kim Maginn, a 63-year-old grandmother from Arkansas and avid fitness enthusiast, should still have years to see her family grow. Instead, her daughter, nurse Rachel Rosser wonders why she couldn’t convince her late mother to get the shot.

“I’m angry that she wasn’t vaccinated. And I personally feel guilty that I didn’t put in more effort,” Rosser said.

Unfortunately, Maginn had thought that if she were to fall with Covid, she would have figured it out already.

Those close to the dead are not alone in their poignant lamentations.

Some of those who have survived a fight with Covid – after long days struggling to breathe or struggling with debilitating side effects – wonder why they haven’t taken a simple step to save themselves and their loved ones from the nightmare .

Ganeene Starling, a Floridian who has eight children, shuddered at what would have happened to her 6-year-old if Starling hadn’t survived what she called a “horrible” spell in the unit. intensive care. She admitted to hearing people say that the government is forcing people to fill their bodies with an untested substance.

“I was one of those people who was like, ‘I can’t believe people are just going to inject themselves with this drug that we don’t know enough about,” said Starling, 43. say ‘It’s just a hit. Just take the stupid blow. ‘ “

“This vaccine could have stopped it all. Just a little bit. I feel stupid that I didn’t have it.”

As Alicia Ball sat by her husband William’s bedside, where he slept in exhausted sleep in an oxygen mask last week, she said they delayed the injection.

But she told CNN from Mississippi, “I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through this.”

A vast tragedy

As infections grow, fueled by the Delta variant of Covid-19, these devastating stories of unnecessary loss of life and pain shared in recent days with CNN presenters and reporters – including John Berman, Martin Savidge , Randi Kaye, Miguel Marquez, Chris Cuomo and others – will be repeated thousands of times. Some of those who testified agreed to speak out even during grief and personal agony, to help others avoid their plight.

The vast human tragedy of the pandemic – with more than 600,000 American deaths alone – was already almost unbearable. But many of those lost in previous waves of the disease have had no luck.

Some have succumbed to comorbidities that have made them vulnerable to Covid-19 – a disease for which there are few effective therapies. Others have fallen ill after not taking the disease – and the social distancing advice from government scientists – seriously enough. Many were simply unlucky and doomed to their fate by biology or chance.

But the idea that many such tragedies can now be avoided – but not because, for some reason, millions of American adults will not get vaccinated – could herald the most painful phase of this world to date. damn global emergency.

Most people who contract Covid-19 still won’t die or become seriously ill, a factor that has clearly influenced the calculations of many people in the country who are suspicious of public health advice or think the worst will happen to them. not.

But the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, combined with the vicious gait of the Delta variant, weighs even more on the calculation in favor of vaccination before it’s too late.

Despite all the talk about “revolutionary infections”, only a tiny proportion of those who are vaccinated against Covid-19 actually contract the virus. A small number get sick and have to go to the hospital. An even smaller number dice. So getting the snapshots, while not offering a 100% guarantee of survival – the fragility of human life diminishes in it – offers enormous and breathtaking protection.

The CDC said on Saturday, for example, that less than 0.004% of people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are experiencing a groundbreaking case resulting in hospitalization. Less than 0.001% died from the disease. While the tally of these groundbreaking cases – 6,587 – and deaths – 1,263 – seems like a lot, they have to be compared to the fact that more than 163 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as of the 26th. July.

And the CDC reported on Monday that 70% of all American adults have received at least one injection of the Covid-19 vaccine, reaching a benchmark that President Joe Biden had hoped to achieve just under a month ago.

Reasons for reluctance to vaccinate

Given the staggering success of the vaccines, even as the Delta variant besieges the country, the decision of many Americans to forgo life-saving protection seems confusing to those who get vaccinated.

There are several reasons why people are reluctant. Some wanted to wait and see if there were any side effects over time for those vaccinated. Suspicion of the government runs deep in the American soul, undermining some of the White House’s calls to Biden for people to step forward and protect themselves.

In parts of the country, largely untouched by previous Covid assaults that have emptied the streets of major cities, there was a feeling that the disease did not pose a serious threat. And since most people recover from their infections, there’s a strong feeling that your chances are still pretty good if you do get sick, especially if you’re young and don’t have any pre-existing health issues.

In many cases, the pressure of work and busy lives causes some people to delay their shooting. Politics also undeniably played a role. The fact that ex-President Donald Trump, despite presiding over an administration that has helped fund vaccine development, politicized Covid-19 so severely and made fun of wearing a mask means that it can hardly be a coincidence that almost all of the least vaccinated states voted for it last November and are now poorly exposed to the Delta variant.

Months of anti-vaccine propaganda by conservative news networks watched by Trump supporters stigmatized the vaccine for many. In Missouri, which is hammered by Delta, CNN reported that some people were being shot in secret to avoid social and political pressure to hang on.

“They didn’t want to have to deal with peer pressure or other people’s outbursts about them… ‘give in to anything’,” Dr Priscilla Frase, internist and medical information manager at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains CNN’s Anderson Cooper said.

Even now, many Republicans appear to be making the political decision to avoid the vaccine despite its lifesaving potential. A Monmouth University poll released on Monday found 17% remained opposed to getting the vaccine. Of this group, 70% identify with or lean towards the Republican Party, while only 6% align with the Democrats.

The idea that anyone wouldn’t run away because they listened to a politician (not just Trump) who downplays the importance of the pandemic to boost their own career, or a right-wing expert who raises their ratings, is its own tragedy.

But whatever the reason, it’s increasingly clear that people who refuse the vaccine are now taking a significant risk to their own lives and health – and the well-being of those who might be left behind. ‘they die. With children under 12 still not eligible for vaccination, skeptics are also at risk of exposing younger and vulnerable members of society to serious illness. In the end, they are making a bet in what Republican West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has called “a lottery of death.”

‘It’s not worth the shot’

The vaccine controversy has once again exposed the deep political and societal chasm that separates the United States. And this raises the question of whether getting vaccinated is not just a personal choice but a step that should be seen in terms of an individual’s debt to society.

This question is particularly difficult for many doctors and nurses, who have spent more than a year surrounded by Covid deaths in intensive care units. Many share stories of people refusing to believe they have Covid-19 even until the moment they are intubated. Others crave the vaccine, even if once you are sick it is too late.

“Some people insist we lie to them about their positive Covid diagnosis, even sick people,” nurse Morgan Babin told CNN last week in Louisiana where the virus is rife.

The reality of unnecessary death is adding to the stress and morale of many medical professionals as the nation braces for another protracted battle with the virus.

“It’s also very frustrating. We’re also human. As doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc., we basically have a wonder drug,” Florida International University emergency physician Dr Murtaza Akhter told Ana Cabrera from CNN. the week. “We have something that can help prevent infection and more importantly prevent serious infection altogether and yet people refuse to get it. And they come begging for help but also refuse the vaccine.”

“It’s quite ironic. It’s very, very frankly, provoking anger.”

One patient who learned this lesson was Aimee Matzen, 44, who told CNN at a hospital last week that she was “furious” with herself because she was not vaccinated.

“(I) just don’t want anyone else to end up like me, especially when the vaccine is so easy to get now,” she said.

Michael Freedy’s fiancee, Jessica DuPreez – who got the shot as soon as he tested positive – told CNN’s Berman on Monday that she believed he would still be with her if he got the shot.

“I do, I think it would at least have lessened the symptoms and he could have fought longer and had a better chance,” she said. DuPreez said the loss of Freedy, 39, still seemed surreal. Her 7-year-old son is still texting his phone. “The very first one was dad, are you still alive?” she said on “New Day”.

“Those of you who are hesitant and think ‘this can’t happen to me because I’m young’ – it can and then you are going to sit there and wonder why you didn’t and you won’t. not be able to embrace your family again. “

“It’s not worth the shot.”

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