“Captain’s log: supplemental.” Trekkies out there will recall that the captain would sometimes add a ‘supplemental’ to his daily log entry. Consider this a supplemental to some of my recent covid writing.
Did you hear the one about the woman who sued for the right to not wear a mask to her daughter’s graduation? Sorry, that’s not a joke, it’s really happening right now.
Of course it’s just one of thousands of silly stories like it. A notable example is the trial of the Edmonton pastor who chose to ignore local health regulations for churches. His defence is predictable: wearing masks doesn’t allow them to worship (not sure why) so he must obey God (by appealing to the Canadian charter of rights).
I had promised myself I wouldn’t write (much) more about this subject but in a recent blog I wondered rhetorically how anti-maskers are affecting over all public health, and it got me to thinking… There are a lot of strange ideas floating around about masks and vaccines so maybe we could benefit from some straight ‘vaccination information’.
the better way
- Masks aren’t about you. The engineering is simple; they greatly reduce the microscopic droplets that spread between people. We wear masks because, whether we have symptoms or not, we can still pass the virus to somebody else.¹
- Vaccine safety. Yes, they have been developed quickly, BUT that’s because they’re based on tested research that has already been happening for at least a decade.
- Blood clots are very rare. You are much more likely to get Covid-19 than you are to get a blood clot from the vaccine, AND you are much more likely to get a blood clot from Covid-19 than from the vaccine.
- Vaccines are effective. They are roughly 70-90% effective in preventing covid and 100% effective in keeping you alive.²
- Young and healthy isn’t an answer. Viruses are ‘intelligent’; they adapt. Younger, healthier people are now experiencing more adverse issues from Covid-19. There is significant concern about permanent damage to heart, lungs, kidneys, brain.
- Our immune systems fight covid. But unfortunately many of us don’t have immunities that can respond quickly enough. Vaccines basically train your immune system to be strong and ready ahead of time.
- Side effects. Uncomfortable side effects to the vaccine (fever, headaches, etc.) occur in roughly 10% of the population.
- Vaccines don’t inject DNA. Information is used from a small piece of DNA protein, but no actual DNA.
- There are no fetal stem cells in vaccines. They are used for testing or to grow content for the vaccines. (Keep in mind that many common medical tests and treatments do the same.)
- There is no reason to be fearful of science. Obviously we use science in practical ways every day. Like many aspects of life, it is simply a way to understand and benefit from God’s creation. For some reason, christians are often taught to selectively distrust science. Yes, scientists are human, but their research is monitored very well by the system.
What about evangelicals? Glad you asked.
In the U.S. general population 69% now say they plan to get a vaccine; Canada is 79% (both numbers have risen slowly).
The biggest determiners for not vaccinating are religion and politics. Conservatives in both are much more likely to reject vaccination.
More than 40% of white evangelicals do not plan to be vaccinated, making them the largest demographic resisting vaccines.
White evangelicals, by a large margin, are less likely to say they should consider how their actions affect others.
So, evangelical vaccine/mask reluctance is a primary factor in stalling overall pandemic recovery, affecting the economy, mental health, medical resources, short and long term health, and lives.
But add to that the bizarre evangelical attitude that they don’t care how their actions affect their neighbours. Let me say it straight: that attitude is blatantly non-christian.
hey, old timer!
Perhaps you’ve seen what Martin Luther wrote centuries ago about the proper response of christians during the Black Death plague. It’s been making the rounds on the internet but I just had to repost it.³
First, he offers relevant thoughts on … wait for it … universal health care!
“It would be well, where there is an efficient government in cities and states, to maintain municipal homes and hospitals staffed with people to take care of the sick so that patients from private homes can be sent there. . . . That would indeed be a fine, commendable, and Christian arrangement to which everyone should offer generous help and contributions, particularly the government. Where there are no such institutions—and they exist only in a few places—we must give hospital care and be nurses for one another in any extremity or risk the loss of salvation and the grace of God.”
the heart of the matter
“Others sin on the right hand. They are much too rash and reckless, tempting God and disregarding everything which might counteract death and the plague. They disdain the use of medicines; they do not avoid places and persons infected by the plague, but lightheartedly make sport of it and wish to prove how independent they are. They say that it is God’s punishment; if he wants to protect them he can do so without medicines or our carefulness. That is not trusting God but tempting him. . . .
“No, my dear friends, that is no good. Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places where your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body? You ought to think this way: “Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid persons and places where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence … See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
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¹ The goal (of masks and vaccinations) is to lower the rate of infection to a point where it is no longer a real health concern for the general population. No matter how it affects you, there is likely someone who can get seriously ill, be hospitalized, or die because of your unwillingness to cooperate.
Simply by wearing masks and washing our hands during the past year, the number of flu cases has dropped dramatically. If we had all cooperated earlier could we have choked the flu off the list of major annual killers?
² The higher the rates of vaccination, the lower the chances of infection in the general population. Which means anti-mask/vaxxers are keeping us at higher risk for a longer time.