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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Seventy-Four



"Civilization" and Our Discontents


Homo homini lupus est.


      A man is a wolf to another man.


-Latin Proverb



The doctor from Montana tried to persuade me that the gentle, non- judgmental approach was best with anti-vaxxers. It was a Sunday, she'd just been to church with her ailing mother, they were so relieved to be meeting in person again, and I was on my morning walk when we stopped to talk.  Best to say, calmly, "I'm worried about you," she explained.  So I decided to try this approach with a young man who works at the gym. He was  behind plastic, wearing a mask again, and so was I. I'd seen him walking around talking to people without his mask so I never for a minute thought he wasn't vaccinated, yet somehow suspected he wasn't based on previous conversations. So this morning, with news of break-through infections, and my own instinct to get masked-up again, I asked him directly. After the confession, came a litany of, "I spoke to my doctor and we think I don't need to get vaccinated," etc.  Excuse me? Who is this doctor?  But I didn't say that. I  held my breath and tried the recommended gentle approach: "You're a very smart man. That decision surprises me."


I didn't wait  to hear a reply. I saw his face, though, and hope my disappointment in him hit home. He'd asked me for some mentoring help, which I provided willingly. Now I'm done.


The refusal to get vaccinated—not  the hesitancy, but the blatant, outright refusal—feels  passive-aggressive to me, an "I'm going to show you" attitude, a "fuck you," attitude. I hope I am wrong about this because the psychological implications are dire. The rageful behavior of some of our citizens, many of whom are armed, worries me. Gentle admonitions won't help with these folks. It's time for mandates everywhere. This is a public health emergency.


I can't believe I'm writing this post, that I've returned to Virus Without Borders, but I know two people in England who've had Covid recently after getting their second shots. Not breakthrough infections, exactly, as the Brits did a twelve-week wait period before the second shot, so more than likely antibodies had weakened, but bad enough. Entire families had to go into quarantine, trips to see loved ones were cancelled—my son-in-law's parents, his sister and her family. And here in the US of  A,  people are traveling everywhere, gathering. Much too soon. The CDC are standing by their recommended protocols—no masks  for the vaccinated needed indoors—and  not tracking breakthrough infections. What is going on?


Dear Readers, the euphoria of early vaccination has worn off as I await announcement of a third shot, or a booster.


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