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AS WE SEE IT: Facts shouldn’t be political

Not everything needs to be politicized. Some things are a matter of fact, and opinions don’t matter. 

The sky is blue, no matter your opinion on that particular color. Water is wet. Flames are hot. We have to breate oxygen to stay alive. 

And some people get sick enough from the COVID-19 virus to die. This is not up for debate. It’s a fact. 

It doesn’t matter if other people die from other viruses besides the coronavirus every year as well. It doesn’t matter if some of those people had other medical problems in addition to COVID. If COVID weakened them, or overtaxed an immune system already ravaged by another disease, COVID contributed to their death. 

This is a fact. It should not be muddied for political gain, by folks on either end of the political spectrum. While we shouldn’t pretend that it was COVID alone that killed them if they had other issues, likewise we can’t pretend it was the underlying condition alone. 

Comorbidity, or the presence of two or more diseases in a patient at the same time, has been noted as one of the contributing factors in COVID deaths from the outset of the pandemic. It’s one reason why folks are encouraged to wear any kind of mask that can help slow the spread of their germs – especially if they are otherwise healthy and carrying the virus – so they don’t contribute to comorbidities that can lead to hospitalization or even death.

And slowing the spread of droplets, by wearing any sort of mask, as well as reducing the number of droplets you might breathe, means masks help. They aren’t 100 percent effective. The science shows that too, as well as that some masks work better than others. But the science also shows that any barrier is preferable to no barrier. 

Science, and history, also shows that vaccinations have helped eradicate disease. You can be skeptical of the current COVID-19 vaccines because they are new. You may want to wait for full FDA approval, or more anecdotal evidence from people you know who have been vaccinated. Those are decisions that can be understood and debated, but you can’t deny that vaccines save lives. You also can’t deny that millions of people have now taken one of the several types of COVID vaccines and only a very small percentage have shown any side effects. 

Sure, it’s still early, but so far results look promising. And, if it turns out there are long term side effects, science will show us that too. 

That’s the thing about science. It doesn’t stay static for political ideologies, it changes its prediction when new evidence is presented to support an alternative. 

You don’t have to like it, but right now the science seems to indicate that the COVID vaccines are largely safe, that they prevent or lessen illness in those exposed to the COVID virus, and that they have saved lives. 

Still, you don’t need to get a vaccine if you don’t want one. But that doesn’t mean you should get to just put others at risk because of your political beliefs. 

If you won’t take the vaccine, you should at least wear a mask. Maybe not everywhere, but where you might run into someone else at risk. It could be that a pair of masks, one on each of you, is all that is keeping them from an infection. 

Even if you have had the vaccine, there are some instances where you might still want to mask up – again for others more than yourself. Especially now that they’ve revealed that vaccinated individuals with no symptoms can spread the virus – more of those things that we don’t necessarily want to hear but that science is going to tell us anyway, with no concerns about our feelings. 

Because it’s a fact. 

It’s not political. It’s truth. And we would like to thank at least one of our Senators for keeping that in mind. 

Recently Senator Mitch McConnell has been helping spread awareness about the coronavirus, masking, and vaccination. Senator McConnell, unlike his colleague Senator Rand Paul, is taking the virus seriously. He is refusing to politicize the facts, at least as they relate to this pandemic, and he is asking his constituents to make fact based decisions about their response to the pandemic.

We commend Senator McConnell for what is an undeniably brave stance. When it might be easier to make no comment, while others in his party try to gain political traction from denying the pandemic and opposing any measure aimed at containing it, McConnell has taken a stand, based on the verified facts and the best science we have. That’s the kind of leadership we need more of, from all our elected officials. 

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