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The Delta variant of Covid-19, combined with regrettable anti-vaccine sentiment, has dramatically escalated the number of covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the US and around the world. The overwhelming majority in the US, over 99% in one scientific study, of those hospitalized and dying are those who have not been vaccinated. And unfortunately, there continue to be progressives who deny the importance of the vaccine to the goal of ultimately suppressing, if not defeating, the virus. They are covid deniers.
It’s difficult to be patient with covid deniers I know who have spent years of their lives advocating and working for a very different world, a much better one, than the corporate-dominated one we are living in today. On this issue, despite the 620,000 deaths in the US and over 4.2 million deaths in the world caused by it so far, with more to come, they act and speak as if those deaths and the massive suffering caused by the virus are essentially the result of a conspiracy.
It is particularly outrageous when people like Gary Null and Robert Kennedy actively encourage people to distrust the vaccine, the vaccine that is THE reason the number of deaths per day in the USA went from over 3,000 in December of 2020 to a few hundred as of this June once the vaccine was widely available and incompetent Trump was replaced by a Biden administration that took this pandemic seriously.
Most of those not getting the vaccine are Trump supporters. A much smaller percentage are people on the Left. From what I’ve read and experienced, some of that second group are people whose general distrust of government and corporations, like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, underlie their vaccine reluctance.
I agree with those within this group who say that it isn’t enough to wear a mask and social distance and get a vaccine, that it’s also important that people have a healthy diet and exercise, take better care of themselves and their families. I’m critical of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Gupta and other famous medical experts on TV who rarely if ever mention this. Indeed, if they did, this could be a silver lining of covid if many more people made these changes.
And the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical companies to make available the information and the knowledge needed to manufacture the vaccine in other countries is shameful. They should be publicly criticized for their inhuman corporate greed.
But these criticisms can’t be used to discourage vaccination.
I’ve had lots of experience over my years as a progressive activist dealing with people and organizations who put ideology over facts, who refuse to accept the truth, find ways to stick to their opinions even when reality has shown them to be wrong. It’s a very human problem, with deep historical roots. It’s a big problem.
Saying that the vaccine is part of a corporate conspiracy—saying that there’s no need to take the vaccine if you just eat well, take care of yourself and take vitamin supplements—inflating the tiny percentage of cases, much less than 1%, where vaccinated people have been hospitalized or died from the Delta variant—these and other lies and distortions of the truth should not just be dismissed; they should be confronted.
This is not the time for silence. It’s time to stand up against those on the right and those on the left who are sometimes uninformed, sometimes confused, and sometimes—and these are the worst—actively trying to sabotage the efforts to beat the virus through mass vaccination.
Ted Glick is a volunteer organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and author of Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War, published last year. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://jtglick.com.