‘The rage of the responsible’

On Aug.9, Dr. Mark Kline, physician and chief of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, appeared on WDSU TV, and said there were now 18 children with COVID-19 being treated at his hospital, six were in intensive care, and three of those were on ventilators.  

Nine of the children were under two years old. The youngest was seven weeks. A three-month-old was on a respirator. 

Kline described this as “heartbreaking,” and added,   “All of this was likely unnecessary if we as adults did what we needed to do and get the vaccine. We could have protected these children.”

That’s rage, tempered by wisdom and professionalism. It’s a far-cry from tearing a mask off a teacher or shouting that those administering vaccines should be “executed,” but it still reveals a deep anger that won’t disappear soon. 

Anita Sircar, an infectious disease physician in Los Angeles, used similar professionalism in labeling her anger “compassion fatigue.” 

Sircar described her interaction with a patient whose wife and two children also had COVID. He’d already tried treatments with antibiotics, hydroxychoroquine purchased on the Internet, and  lab-produced monoclonal antibodies. When the patient, gasping for air between every word, explained he didn’t get a vaccine because the FDA hadn’t given full approval, she pointed out that was true not only of every treatment he had tried, but of the best treatment (remdesivir) she could offer. 

Did he want a non-approved treatment?  

He did. 

Sircar says “the burden of this pandemic now rests on the shoulders of the unvaccinated,” especially those who defend their decision as “a deeply personal choice.”  

“When the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, cannot be vaccinated–the luxury of choice ceases to exist.” 

Rage. 

Last week Paul Krugman of the New York Times coined the phrase “The Quiet Rage of the Responsible.” He called out MAGA governors in Florida, Texas, and Arizona for impeding efforts in their states to contain this COVID outbreak.  

Historian Heather Cox Richardson added the governors of Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah to her list.  All eight have banned mask mandates in schools. They are, she says, “demanding the exposure of their citizens–including children, who are not yet eligible for vaccination–to a deadly virus.” 

Gov. Abbott of Texas sets me raging. Although he chose to get vaccinated himself, he has blocked organizations in his state from requiring vaccines or masks. Now that his state is having more than 16,000 new cases a day, he’s asked for 2,500 health care workers from out of state to come help–as though any state has excess caregivers today.

A recent poll by Axios/Ipsos found that 64% of the respondents supported mask mandates by their state or local government; 69% support such mandates in schools. 

And I suspect each one of them feels anger when they learn of a five-month-old with covid or that a grandparent in a senior living facility is again quarantined or another friend asserts that getting vaccinated is their choice. 

Well, the highest infection rate is now among those 18 to 49; thousands under four years old have been infected.

The Pfizer vaccine is to get full approval from the FDA this week.

The fact that unvaccinated persons account for over 96% of the current cases demonstrates that the vaccines work.   

Less than four persons per million will develop inflammation of the heart muscle from a Pfizer or Moderna shot; the U.S. death rate from Covid is now 1,914 per million.  

And, as Covid-19 spreads, new variants are developing. The next one may be worse. 

Yes, I have quiet rage–in public    

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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