What do we think? What do we know? What can we prove?

The title of this little ditty is drawn from the mouth of one of the key researchers during the birth of the AIDS epidemic. It’s part of the scientific process. Once you postulate a theory about an emerging illness, it is the responsibility of scientists and researchers to set about proving that theory by pulling together facts to support that theory. That’s actually how you find solutions to the problem, and ways to treat the illness. Of course, this was before the advent of social media and the notion that medical misinformation is, indeed, “free speech.”

Since the advent of COVID-19, we have more experts than we can shake a proverbial stick at. We have delusional truthers like Mr. Mana Talk out there warning everyone within earshot that the vaccine will kill them. We have Ms. Cabin Talk (more like Cabin Fever) chiming in about our freedoms being infringed upon by various and sundry evil scientists and government officials. Now, she’s even spouting that every tenth jab (the British term for a vaccine shot) could be the fatal jab. These are just average, uninformed, fact-free citizens with no medical background.

This lot has made a cottage industry out of medical misinformation. The reality is that neither of these two care about you or your rights. What they mostly care about is the number of “hits” they can pick up and watching their following climb. It’s a rite of passage. Facts be damned and, by the way, if you are one of the people who actually requires facts (proof, evidence) in order to believe, then you are simply a slave to the system. That’s their “spin.”

Then, we do have those who are actually in a position to do real damage, and these are the people who provide Mr. Mana Talk and Ms.Cabin Talk with their talking points. We have Sherry Tenpenny, for example, now telling people that the vaccines are magnetized, and that if you put a key on the foreheads of the vaccinated that it sticks. I shit you not. She testified in front of the Ohio legislature. How these people are allowed to even address legislators is beyond me. Oh, wait, I guess that’s the free speech part. Right? Then, the bigger mystery is how the American people can continue to allow their tax dollars to be wasted on cretins who undermine the public health. That goes back to the fact that the right wing has successfully brainwashed the public into believing that science and scientific data is “bad” and unnecessary, and that talking smack without proof is being a “truther” exercising his or her “free speech.”

Well, for the record, I’m fully vaccinated and I work at a hardware store where making keys are a staple. We literally have hundreds of blanks hanging up on the rack. You’d think they’d be flying off the rack and sticking to my head every time I go near them. I spent an entire day trying to get every key to stick to my forehead with no luck.

This magnetic claim is a new wrinkle. The original claim was that we are being “chipped” via vaccine. That came from a number of sources, including someone named Dr. Carrie Madej, an actual YouTube fifteen-minutes-of-fame doctor (help us), and a QAnon follower who spoke at the Capitol riots back in January. This baby took off like an Elon Musk rocket on social media. I can tell you that I phoned her several times to come on and provide all of the proof she had during our Sunday night live streams. She certainly never returned my calls. I can’t imagine why.

By the way, the original photo of the alleged chip supposedly used in the vaccine was actually traced. It was proved to be a circuit board for a guitar pedal. That might have tipped a thinking population off, but no such luck here in America, Land of the Fact Free and Home of The Truthers. But I digress.

Back to Cabin Fever for just a few minutes. The perpetrator of this latest line of propaganda offers no proof that every tenth jab could be a fatal jab. Of course not. She then moves into the line of verbal diarrhea that people who have had the vaccine are now dying from the Delta variant. Some of this is actually true, but the numbers are small and those affected are generally over 50 years of age. Using your head might give you a logical viewpoint. The Delta variant was not in existence when the original vaccines were created. It’s rather impossible to build in resistance for a mutation that doesn’t yet exist, and expecting scientists to take a future mutation into consideration would require them to be seers, not scientists. Perhaps we should have had them visit the Long Island Medium before they embarked on their scientific journey. We could have gotten our reality TV fix in at the same time.

The actual science shows that the vast majority of people now dying from COVID-19 are, in fact, the unvaccinated. Scientists have done some research about the existing vaccines’ efficacy against the Delta variant. This is actually how the scientific process works, for those who really do not “get it” out there (and there are many). Of course, Cabin Fever never actually looks into any of this material because, well, she’s a “Truther.” Not only is she a truther, but she’s out there protecting our medical freedom by telling us that it’s important that we boycott establishments that require masks. Wouldn’t it be prudent to wear a mask given the information we now have on the Delta variant? That information says it’s more easily transmissible than other strains, it is now in the U.S., and is spreading fast in California.

Let me tell you how I see this and, again, this is just how I make decisions about my own health. The World Health Organization is recommending masks indoors, even for the fully vaccinated given what we now know about the Delta variant. I was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February, and it took me literally nine weeks to feel well enough to go back to work again. I consider myself still in recovery with several problems even though I am back at work (and these problems are not merely the inability to taste or smell). My place of business is now not requiring either employees or shoppers to wear masks in the store if they are vaccinated. If they are not vaccinated, employees must wear masks in order to work and shoppers are also. Nobody, by the way, is asking any shoppers to show their vaccine card. It’s on the honor system.

Since I consider protecting my health on the honor system of the American public to be foolhardy after all I’ve seen and heard both on and off social media, I choose to continue to wear my mask where I work. I also continue to wear a mask when I go into other stores. My family and friends? I trust them. I know them. I do not wear a mask indoors with them. That is my choice to make. I do not need firm guidelines. I can read. I can weight the pros and cons. And I am certainly capable of making my own decisions.

Let me say this in closing. Should the “experts” on social media choose to believe the Sherry Tenpennies of the world and make different decisions for themselves, that is their absolute right. No argument there. However, spreading medical misinformation and, in many cases parroting outright lies, is egregious and puts others at risk. This is why I continue to push back and will continue to push back on the likes of Mr. Mana Talk and Ms. Cabin Talk. “What do we think? What do we know? What can we prove?” has eluded their thought process, and what they are saying on video and in print is not enlightenment. It’s a detriment to the public health.

Categories: 2021, American Culture, COVID-19, featured, Medical Misinformation, Propaganda, Right-Wing Ideology, Science

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