Politics Aside, This Is Insane

In this country, we continue to have violent disagreements about the benefits of masks. They have become a major political issue. I believe evidence has shown masks are effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, and they are recommended by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see CDC: Your Guide to Masks, updated Aug. 13, 2021). Yet, several governors have chosen to oppose any mask mandates. They have reasons that have little to do with preventing the transmission of disease. We fund government agencies to supply guidance in situations like pandemics. But many would rather take the advice of a politician with no medical training.

According to Wikipedia, Dr. Anthony Fauci graduated from Cornell Medical School first in his class. He has a history of over fifty years’ service in various capacities in government health organizations and is an expert in infectious disease. He has advised every president since Ronald Reagan. In comparison, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, graduated from Yale as a history major. He eventually obtained a law degree from Harvard. Governor DeSantis has no background in health care, and probably would be challenged to describe the scientific nature of COVID-19. Yet he believes he knows better than Dr. Fauci and all the other medical experts who have recommended masks. He says mask mandates don’t work. Many experts in the United States and around the world disagree with that conclusion.

Ron DeSantis is a follower of the Trump school, which is I know better than everyone else. And if I say something often enough, people will believe it. The people dying are the unvaccinated, and the unvaccinated are often the ones seeing no need to physically distance or wear a mask. The hospitals are filled with those with regrets. You don’t go to a plumber when you need surgery, so why would you listen to a history major for medical advice.

I have a problem with conservative pundits because they aren’t interested in facts. Instead, they spew speculation, conspiracy theories, beliefs based on disinformation, and unfounded rumors. Many lack much formal education, especially in science, but they have answers for everything. They heard or they just know…. There are times, like now, when real science is important. And the best thing Ron DeSantis and some of the other governors can do is get out of the way and let the experts do their job.

I live in Florida, and I can attest to the fact that the response to COVID-19 was never handled well. I live in a 55-and-older community, and it was a nightmare trying to get an appointment to get vaccinated. Governor DeSantis left it up to the individual counties, and the county websites often crashed. Those 65 and older often spent many hours just trying to set up an appointment. We would sit for hours logged in to a site only to be told no more reservations were available. It was chaotic at best.

DeSantis’s position on COVID-19 has encouraged the young adults who frequent bars and nightclubs to do so without regard to infection. There are few masks worn and little concern that they are in any real danger. Popular beach spots are packed, and the disease has spread across Florida. He has shown no leadership and bears responsibility for many of the deaths in Florida.

COVID-19 should never have become a political issue. It is a health issue and should have been handled as such. But we had our past president holding rallies across the country with no physical distancing and few masks being worn. He treated it like the common cold and his followers believed it was not a serious threat. And recently, we had Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, extoling the virtues of the Sturgis motorcycle rally during a pandemic, where over a half of million bikers gathered for ten days. Is she insane!

Social media has supplied benefits for many people, but it has also resulted in some serious problems. One of the most significant is the fact that misinformation abounds because there is no effective way for the social media service to remove mistaken information. Monitors of the sites are not traditional editors who require that their reporters follow certain standards. They can probably catch only a small percentage of even blatant misinformation. Anyone with an account and the time to post messages can add to the swamp. Everyone is an instant expert whose opinions during an earlier time in history would been disregarded as either nonsense or unsupported. They would never have found publication.

Don’t turn to social media for your source of news unless it is just a posting of a story from a legitimate news source. Question the source of everything you read, even from respectable sources of the news. Unfortunately, they often use headlines that are misleading to gain readers; when you read the details you realize the headline was misleading. And everyone says or believes something is not a valid reason for accepting it. The statement is obviously not literally true, and even if most people accepted something, that still does not mean it is true. Don’t listen to someone who works as a plumber for advice on whether or not you need surgery. And don't take medical advice from a lawyer.

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