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OPINION | BRENDA LOOPER: One year later

by Brenda Looper | November 9, 2022 at 4:13 a.m.
Brenda Looper


"Remember, remember, the fifth of November."--nursery rhyme

Saturday was a rough day for me. A year ago Saturday, the youngest of my three brothers became a covid statistic.

The day was made a little easier by coinciding with my weekly social media cleanse, as well as taking care of fur-nephews Charlie and Spike, but it was still hard not to think about Corey, especially as my circle of covid super-dodgers decreased by one. We dodgers are getting rarer all the time. Scientists aren't even sure that all of us are in fact super-dodgers.

Discover magazine reported last month: "[S]cientists speculate that some 'super-dodgers,' who say they haven't had covid-19, could've caught the virus unknowingly. Many infected individuals face mild symptoms that they confuse for a common cold. Many others face no symptoms at all--not a cough, a sore throat nor a loss of taste or smell. In fact, one study says that around 40 to 45 percent of those infected with the virus remained completely asymptomatic. The absence of severe symptoms may make it seem that more people are avoiding covid-19 than actually are."

So it's possible I've had covid and didn't know it, but considering that I'm a bit of a hermit naturally and wear masks, it's unlikely I would have passed it on to more than a few people. The one scare I had was neither covid nor flu, thankfully, and I've been boosted with the newer version of the vaccine. (I'll be getting flu and covid shots each year to enhance protection, as you're much less likely to suffer the worst effects of a virus when you're vaccinated.)

Corey avoided covid for nearly two years, but he also wasn't vaccinated and didn't take all that many precautions. For a virus that will likely infect everyone at some point, that's not the wisest course.

I know all the arguments about the vaccine's speedy development, but they're disingenuous considering that the technology for the mRNA vaccine has been in existence for decades, and development of the covid vaccines began as soon as the genetic sequence of the virus was released. Because of the immediate need for a vaccine to boost immunity against a new virus that had proven deadly, testing phases were run concurrently rather than consecutively to get a viable vaccine out as soon as possible, and the vaccines have been constantly monitored (as are all medications so that they can be pulled if significant issues occur).

Had covid-19 not been politicized and social media not been flooded with misinformation (incorrect or misleading information) and disinformation (false information deliberately and often covertly spread, as by the planting of rumors, in order to influence public opinion or obscure truth), we might be past this by now, with far fewer deaths.

Perhaps we'd still trust the words of medical professionals if misinformation hadn't been so amplified for political purposes. Maybe we wouldn't have harassed educators, doctors, scientists, etc., knowing that they were dealing with a previously unknown virus (related to, but not the same as previous coronaviruses) and recommending the precautions most likely to stem the spread. Maybe we wouldn't have been so belligerent in our refusal to follow even the most common-sense suggestions or make the wearing of masks political.

The majority of us still masking in indoor public spaces aren't doing so to virtue-signal. Those masks aren't exactly comfortable unless they're the cloth masks that are less effective (mine have filters, but are still less effective than the fitted KN95s or N95s I wear to doctors' offices), and even those can be stifling after several hours. Many of us may have friends or family who are immunocompromised, or are immunocompromised ourselves. We might have a cold we don't want to spread to other people (unless you tick us off).

We simply are treating others as we wish to be treated. We miss the time when "not being a jerk" was the default rather than a conscious decision one had to make. The fact that so many people so willingly risked their lives and those of others just to assert their "freedom" was, and still is, disturbing.

I miss that better time more than you know, but I miss even more being able to talk to Corey whenever the mood struck for one of his funny stories or the answer to a burning family question. He could always be depended on for a laugh and a kind gesture, as his family, friends and customers alike would attest.

I hate that we fought over the efficacy of vaccination, and I especially hate that he suffered as he did once he got sick.

No one should have to die from something that, yes, most people survive. But stubbornness and politicization have a way of making things worse than they have to be.

Let's ignore what political pundits want us to believe and pay attention to the actual experts. Let's put others before ourselves. Let's be better.

Do it for Corey's little sister who misses her redheaded buddy, and for everyone else who lost someone they loved or is suffering from long covid.

We can do that, right?


Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Email her at blooper@adgnewsroom.com. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com.


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