It's the cry of exasperated parents everywhere: "If you'd stop squirming, it would be over already!"
I just read an article about a renewed surge of COVID cases in central Missouri, in an area where vaccination rates are appallingly low. It both saddened, scared, and infuriated me. Simply put: we could be done with this by now. We have the resources to get everyone vaccinated, and reach herd immunity for the few people who have genuine medical reasons not to be (no, the chain message your great aunt Margaret posted on FB does not suffice as a genuine reason to avoid vaccination).
But we're not doing it. People are still avoiding vaccination, in large part because -- let's not mince words -- one of our two political parties has converted into a death cult on this issue. Even a few years ago anti-vaxx sentiment was associated with crunchy granola types in Southern California* -- now, it's de rigueur among any remotely ambition Republican politician. The result is that people are dying who do not need to die. And while right now the vaccine does protect against the most serious symptoms of the disease, the longer we go without outright crushing COVID, the more likely that one of these new variants or mutants will evade the vaccine altogether.
One year ago, the fight against COVID was a race to minimize casualties while treatments were developed. Today, we have the tools we need to beat COVID, and the only reason we haven't is because some people remain too selfish or self-absorbed to do the bare minimum to keep their community and loved one's safe. It is such a sad, outrageous commentary on the state of the American people.
* Maybe the best pro-vaccine PSAs to run to persuade conservative heartlanders are not from doctors, or politicians, or celebrities, but just images of some stereotypical beach bum hippy complaining that vaccines are like, ruining their chakra and are the White man's medicine, and saying "don't be like them." You don't want to be some pinko commie, do you? Get vaxxed to own the libs!
It's pathetic that this might work, but it'd be worth it if it did.