It must suck to be wrong about COVID-19

The New York Times, going about 1 inch out onto a limb, predicted that 2023 will be The Year of the Fabulist, with that particular sub-species being defined as “a liar, especially one who invents elaborate, dishonest stories.”

With the Republicans (sort of) taking over the House of Representatives (the infighting is going to be deliriously enjoyable to watch), the handful of midterm losers still running around screaming into dead air, and the right-wing radio talkers looking for something — anything! — to moan about, Fabulism will have its heyday. In politics, as in basketball, if you’ve got no game, all that is left for you is to talk crap.

I was listening to Sean Hannity the other day (Don’t ask me why; I guess I couldn’t find a bed of rusty nails upon which to lie). He had on some congressman from a Southern state who was complaining about one of the successes of the Biden administration when he said (without even a tiny touch of irony), “We need to have some Benghazi-type committee hearing on this.”

Those of us who didn’t go to a charter school will know that, despite 10(!)congressional committees looking into the Benghazi attack, not one shred of evidence linking malfeasance or a cover-up to the Obama administration, in general, or then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in particular, was ever uncovered. “Benghazi committee” is congressional talk for “snipe hunt.”

That doesn’t mean that they’re not going to try, and that’s fine. It will keep them distracted. Plus, it’s in what passes these days for their job description.

One straw that people on the Desperate Far Right appear to be grasping at concerns vaccines for the coronavirus. At first glance (and every glance thereafter), that seems like it would be a non-starter. More than eight out of 10 Americans are vaccinated; nearly three out of every four are fully vaccinated with all the boosters. The anti-vaxxers were dolts a year ago, and they’re dolts to this day.

But, because they’ve been wrong for so long in their little echo chamber, they’re now spiraling outward with ever-more-ridiculous claims. At first the vaccines were untested and therefore potentially dangerous. Then after some vaccinated people started getting COVID-19, the vaccines were ineffectual and useless. Now the anti-vaxxers are singing a double tune. The vaccines are both ineffectual and potentially deadly.

They found some guy who got a medical degree in the mail from Guadalajara who says he studied millions of people in Germany and found that people are dropping dead at a higher rate than they were a few years ago. Ipso facto, the vaccine must be the culprit.

More than a year ago, a guy named Nick Rolovich, who was the football coach at Washington State University, got himself and several of his staff fired by refusing to be vaccinated. He gave up a million dollars a year job and put several of his assistants out of work in exchange for being Flavor of the Day on Fox News.

I wrote about his stupidity back then and my opinion hasn’t changed. The other day, I got an email from a guy who, like many others in his cave, has grabbed onto a perfectly understandable news item and is using it in an attempt to vindicate his position that science isn’t real.

The email read:

“Just out of curiosity, and assuming you’re still alive, now that the vaccinated are dropping like flies, do you have any desire to recant your hit piece railing against Rolovich’s sound decision? Or is it now you, yourself, who is truly anti-science?”

First off, I am still alive and I am fully vaccinated, although those two things might be purely coincidental. Rolovich is still an idiot. Forget about the money. If you are employed by an institution of higher learning, you should exhibit at least a little bit of brain power.

The letter writer’s main thrust illustrates a misplaced elation at an emerging trend that actually underscores the importance of being vaccinated. We learned early on that the vaccine doesn’t prevent someone from coming down with COVID-19, nor does it prevent the transmission of the virus. It would be great if it did, but it doesn’t. What it does do is make the vaccinated person far less likely to get serious symptoms or die from the virus than an unvaccinated person.

What we are witnessing from the anti-vaxxers is their absolute glee at learning that, for the first time, more vaccinated people are dying from COVID-19 than are unvaccinated people. All that actually shows is that people who don’t understand science aren’t likely to understand math, either.

If four out of five Americans (80%) are vaccinated (and the vaccine doesn’t keep people from getting the virus), it follows that roughly 80% of the people who are contracting the virus are vaccinated. Why, then, is the percentage of people dying from COVID-19 who are vaccinated only in the 50s? Obviously, it’s because the vaccine is doing at least one thing well; it’s making the vaccinated less likely to die.

The “failure” now being trumpeted by the loud-mouthed minority is actually a success for the vaccinated majority. It must really suck to be wrong over and over and over again. In the upcoming Year of the Fabulist, look for it to be the norm.

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