I Will Not Go Underground

I Will Not Go Underground

Over the past 18 months since March 2020, my family and I have been neither anti-mask nor anti-vaccine. We have followed the general recommendations for keeping us safe from the coronavirus COVID-19: wearing masks in public before a vaccination, hand sanitizer, limiting trips out, and so on. In April of this year, Melanie and I got our vaccinations as soon as we could. When restrictions were lifted in May of this year, we began venturing out more. As soon as our older children could be vaccinated, we got their shots too.

In other words, we do not fit the profile of the conservatives who "refuse the science" and refuse to go along with what's best for us. But as the media hype over the Delta variant increases and we hear renewed calls for restrictions to be put in place again and requiring even the vaccinated to wear masks, despite no scientific evidence of its necessity, I am ready to say enough is enough.

When nearly all of the current infections are among the unvaccinated, when Massachusetts itself has a vaccination rate approaching 70% of those eligible, when hospitalizations are nowhere near the rates they were in spring 2020, and when deaths from COVID are in the single digits statewide, at what point can we say that people who still refuse to vaccinate are going to have to take responsibility for their own actions or inaction?

Helen Andrews at The American Conservative has an apt comparison of the current moment to the pushback of American housewives in the early 1960s against nuclear civil defense drills.

That’s how many people saw Operation Alert — but not Sharmat and Smith. Where others saw civilian participants as resolute and proactive, they saw fear and conformity. Stated in bald terms, their position could sound morbid: In a nuclear attack, millions will die, and the responsible thing is to accept that rather than pretend we can avert it. But it was how they felt. Refusing to be afraid was for them a matter of dignity. “I will not raise my children to go underground.”

We can't keep living in fear. Life itself is risky. Where some may say why take any chance, I respond because you can never be completely safe. As a society, our risk matrix is completely out of whack. We have paralyzing fear of things which will not hurt us (if you're vaccinated and are average health, even if you get COVID, it will be like having the flu, not life-threatening), but not of that which can really hurt us.

Unless we learn to live with COVID in the same way we learned to live with the flu, measles, polio, and other infectious and potentially deadly diseases for which we have vaccines, we are going to live forever in fear and under government-directed measures that don't protect, but strip us of our freedom and our dignity.

  • I agree. I will not go underground either. I wore a mask to go into a grocery store that required masks. But I did not wear one outside, such as pumping gas, or going for a walk or a bike ride. I was not going to take the new, experimental mRNA Pfizer vaccine. But when an opportunity came my way to get the more traditional J&J vaccine… I got the (single) jab. If that opportunity didn’t come along, I was going to be un-vaxed and take my chances. And that was how I looked at it. Living life is always a risk. And this was going to be just one more risk. I know people who knew people who got COVID and died. I also personally know people who got COVID and it was mildly annoying to them and they are now fine. That’s the risk I would have been taking. Which way would I end up?

    But I got the vaccine. Will its effectiveness last? Will the virus mutate or evolve its way around the vaccine’s effectiveness? I don’t know. But I’m not going to mask up or lock down again. I’ve been out and about this summer, taking trips, having a good time. I’ll continue to do so. Both people who are vaxed and un-vaxed have to decide how they’re going to live and what chances they will take. If they want to, they can mask up and/or lock down as much as they want. I won’t denigrate them. Well, except for the ones wearing 2 masks while driving in their car, alone. That’s a bit much. But I will be out and about… sans mask.

    Also, I doubt the virus will evolve its way past natural or vaccinated immunity. Viruses tend to get weaker (in terms of mortality) as they evolve. The earlier generations that might be more likely to kill their hosts are shortening their ability to reproduce and spread. Killing your host is not a good viral strategy. So the viruses (virii?) that survive tend to be the ones that are good at not killing their hosts and therefore live to reproduce and spread.

    So the COVID virus may very well be with us forever. But it will probably weaken over time into the common-cold-like viruses that it is related to.

  • This is just IMO, but a lot of the backlash against vaccination, masking, lockdowns, etc. isn’t because of SCIENCE BAD!, but because of the lack of clarity from the government – including the “saintly” (ha!) Dr. Fauci – from the beginning.
    Everyone brings up the “two weeks to flatten the curve” because the government at all levels made it sound like that was the worst we’d have to endure. Then, when it was clear that wasn’t the case, no one in any official capacity said, “I know we said that, but we were wrong. We had incomplete information. Here’s what we know now.”
    Masks weren’t required at first, and were even actively discouraged. Did they tell us why? No. Dr. Fauci basically said that if you’re well, you don’t need them. He didn’t tell us that he was discouraging it to ensure enough supplies for hospitals until the press caught on.
    Now they’ve told us, “You get the shots, you’re done,” until the Delta Variant shows up. Is anyone at the government going to say, “Once again we were operating on incomplete information. Turns out we were wrong again. We’re sorry, but it does look like another shot is due”? I’m not holding my breath, as I have a greater chance of passing out from that than dying from COVID.