Righteous Anger and COVID

polio patient in iron lung, circa 1937, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette archives

I am angry. Furious, even. And no, I will not be taking anger management classes. This is righteous anger, not random fury at someone who might have accidentally cut me off in traffic. It is aimed at those who refuse to take COVID-19 seriously, thereby endangering us all.
Let me go back a few years, quite a few because my husband was two years old at the time. The Salk vaccine for polio was still five years from being released to the public. The man who would later become my husband caught a mild case of polio. He was considered to have fully recovered, didn’t need leg braces, and it is doubtful he spent any time in an iron lung. (No one alive today remembers.) Then his early adult years introduced him to post-polio syndrome, which presents differently among polio survivors. The book “The Polio Paradox” by Richard L. Bruno, H.D., Ph.D. goes into a lot more detail for lay people who are interested. A couple of survivors told me it felt like their polio had come back.
In my husband’s case, it affected his back, has been progressive, and severely limits his physical activity. I don’t tell you this in order to garner sympathy; it is just important for others to realize that the end of an illness is not necessarily the end of its effects.
With polio, the good news is that it does not affect sufferers’ cognitive abilities, either during the actual illness or with post-polio syndrome. We know that the same cannot be said of long COVID, that brain fog is one of many long-term effects present in survivors.
Which leads to the disease we are dealing with today. Yeah, that pesky COVID that we never stop hearing about. Unlike post-polio syndrome, which usually would set in several years after the actual illness, long COVID gives no relief between active illness and the onset of symptoms. Or at least that appears to be the case so far; with COVID being so new, we don’t know yet if there will also be a form of long COVID that sets in several years after people thought they had recovered. We also don’t know if it will be consistent, progressive…if it will have an end point. What we do know is the news so far is not good.
Which leads to my anger. How can anyone justify being in such denial that they feel perfectly okay with refusing to mask, refusing to vaccinate (and I am referring here to people who have no medical justification for this decision), just deciding that it is their right to be stubborn and the heck with anyone who suffers from it? How dare they?
Back in the days of polio, we had a much smaller knowledge base. Since then, science has advanced exponentially, and good websites make so much information available to anyone willing to do the research. We can exercise our common sense in weeding out the bad websites.
It is already well known that many infected with COVID show zero symptoms, so we have no business deciding there is no way we can spread it if we are not ill ourselves.
Hospital Intensive Care Units are having to send people home to make room for more COVID cases, many of whom are children ineligible for vaccines who were carelessly subjected to this disease thanks to some adults who very much are eligible.
I have been fully vaccinated for several months now, yet this is the second year I will be foregoing a visit to my son who lives out of state, due to my wishing to neither contract nor spread this illness. Meantime, around 700,000 people were recently gathered in South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which will undoubtedly spread innumerable cases around the country. How it is reasonable that I am staying home so these people can gallivant all over creation?
It is not about these people’s freedoms. True freedom involves also respecting the freedom of others, and the mindset of COVID deniers does none of that.
Yes, I am angry. Irate. Furious. To feel otherwise seems to me to be just another form of denial.

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