My Wants v. Our Needs

Published: July 16, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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The country and the entire world have suffered from a deadly virus for more than a year and a half, and thanks to the delta variant, the danger is still thriving. But that’s only one of the problems.

A woman holds a sign voicing various conspiracy theories believed by QAnon followers out of the sunroof of a car at the “Reopen Virginia” protest in Richmond on April 22nd, 2020. Three Percenters are a movement that advocates for constitutional rights, and takes its name from the belief that only three percent of America took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War. (Photo by Matthew Rodier/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

America is not only an economic powerhouse, but leads the world in arts and sciences. It’s sad to see that fewer and fewer are trusting that science. Only 48 percent of our citizens are fully vaccinated. Resistance comes in the form of, “it’s-my-right-ism.”

To date, there have been 33.9 million reported cases in the U.S., and 607,000 deaths, the New York Times reports. “By comparison,” the Mayo Clinic reports “during the 2019-2020 flu season in the U.S., about 38 million people had the flu and about 22,000 people died of the flu.

“COVID-19 and the flu have several differences. COVID-19 and the flu are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while influenza is caused by influenza A and B viruses.

“Another difference is that the flu can be treated with antiviral drugs. Only one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, is currently approved to treat COVID-19.”

While millions are actively jumping back into their lives, “The highly transmissible coronavirus variant called delta, is present in all 50 states and is already dominant in many parts of the United States.

“Modeling shows the variant now accounts for 51.7 percent of all new infections in this country, five times the prevalence four weeks earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the week ending July 3.”

Nonetheless, despite incredible medical advancements, some people would rather live in the dark ages than protect their own lives and the lives of others.

Here are the facts, according to the CDC:

– Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

– Millions in the U.S. have received the vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

– The CDC recommends you get a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible.

But the disinformation campaign is a greater threat to all of us.

“‘It’s almost like conspiracy theory Mad Libs. They just inserted the new claims,’ said John Gregory, deputy health editor at NewsGuard, which rates the credibility of news sites and has done its own tracking of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation ‘superspreaders.’ Reported NPR.

“Researchers have found just 12 people are responsible for the bulk of the misleading claims and outright lies about COVID-19 vaccines that proliferate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“‘The ‘Disinformation Dozen’ produce 65% of the shares of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms,’ said Imran Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which identified the accounts. …

“The claims… range from ‘denying that COVID exists, claiming that false cures are in fact the way to solve COVID and not vaccination, decrying vaccines and decrying doctors as being in some way venal or motivated by other factors when they recommend vaccines,’ Ahmed said.”

How do we combat the proliferation of misinformation?

Well, for starters you have to begin to listen to medical experts instead of social media platforms.

However, “‘The platforms cannot control people’s opinions,’ said Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill. ‘They can’t stop someone from saying “I’m not going to take the vaccine because I don’t think it’s safe.” And it’s those thoughts and opinions that have as much of an effect on online communities as actual fake news or actual disinformation.’”

People will believe whatever they choose to believe. But when it comes to the health of all of us during the deadliest virus in over 100 years, we need to put aside political ideology and trust thousands of medical and scientific experts.

This should not be a choice between our personal wants and everyone else’s needs. When it comes to health and safety, we all must act responsibly.


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