She’s 42 years old. I hope she lived through the night. Our doctor son said she probably wouldn’t. 

She told him she wasn’t vaccinated because she didn’t want the government telling her what to do. He responded that he hoped it was worth it. Why, she asked, I’m not going to die, am I? We don’t know, he said, but we’re putting you on a ventilator to try to save your life.

Almost all of the Covid patients in the hospital where our son works are unvaccinated, determined not to let the government tell them what to do. Some of them will pay with their lives to prove this point nobody but them cares about.

What he and all the rest of us hear a lot is the claim that the vaccines don’t work despite the facts that show 90% of Covid deaths in the U.S. right now are unvaccinated people, with a record number under 50 years of age, while 90% of those vaccinated who have a break-through case don’t get hospitalized.

Then there are the crackpot remedies people believe in. Right-wing radio host Glenn Beck says he has Covid and is taking Ivermectin. Bless his heart. And he’s not alone. Family members get very angry with our son and his colleagues when they refuse to prescribe Ivermectin for their family member who is dying. 

They can’t legally,  of course, but they wouldn’t if they could because there is no evidence it does any good, but there is evidence it can cause harm if given in high doses. The unvaccinated don’t care, all they know is that a friend of a friend had a cousin with Covid who took it and got well, so it must work. 

How did we get to the place where truth is rejected and falsehoods embraced.

Vaccines proven to work are dismissed as propaganda while jackleg remedies like hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin are being promoted as the way to go, with celebrities endorsing these absurd treaments.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, for example, says science that cannot be questioned is not science, but propaganda, meaning, he has a right to question the vaccines it even though he’s a football player, not a scientist. 

How disingenuous can you be? Rogers is smart enough to know scientists question science all the time, but when it comes to vaccines, they don’t take seriously someone who doesn’t know anything about science, but who feels free to Monday morning quarterback their research (no pun intended).   

This kind of irresponsible behavior is making the pandemic worse because it encourages others to act the same way. Go anywhere in public and you will see more people without masks than with them, even though the Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire. 

This includes parents we generally believe will do whatever it takes to keep their children safe. Joy and I regularly see parents without masks pushing strollers in stores and walking hand-in-hand with toddlers in the mall. 

Given the fact that an average of 706 children under 18 are now contracting Covid daily, that cases of children ages 4 and younger being admitted to hospitals are double the rate reported a month ago and nearly three times the rate this time last year, and that one day this week it was reported that 5000 children were in the nation’s hospitals suffering from Covid.

Many of these same parents are insisting their children stay in school while acting in ways that help to spread the virus that is forcing schools to go to distance learning. Shocking as it is, maybe good parents aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to protect their children after all.

There is, mercifully, some people who are doing all they can to make the situation better. I’m thinking of all the healthcare workers who continue to sacrifice their own physical and mental health working long shifts trying to save the rest of us. 

What is more, they are doing it while the unvaccinated are making their job so much harder than it should be with rude behavior and hurtful words. A local doctor here commented recently they she and others like her are accused of being the enemy all the time. 

It’s no wonder that thousands of healthcare workers here in the United States are quitting. The Labor Department reported that last August a record 534,000 left the healthcare profession in one month with stress and fatigue the tops reasons why. 

What we are witnessing is a crisis in the making as our healthcare system is being stretched to the breaking point. Staff shortages are so dire that hospitals in our area have told workers who don’t feel any symptoms not to take a Covid test so they can keep working.

That is not something doctors and nurses want to do, but administrators say that with the rapid spread of Omicron, it’s the only way they can prevent a total breakdown in the system. 

Perhaps the most tragic part of what is going on is that in large measure this is a crisis perpetuated and made worse by the unvaccinated.

Before the vaccines, everyone was pulling together and we weathered the storm, but we are not pulling together any longer. We are not for one reason and one reason only – people who refuse to get vaccinated.

This isn’t playing the blame game. Instead, it is simply telling the truth.  

The unvaccinated have become the number one health hazard in the country. They are making people sick. They are causing people to die. They are creating conflict and chaos. They are committing a crime of omission against humanity. And they are making themselves into a living petri dish for new Covid variants to emerge.

They think they have the right to do with their bodies what they want to (although most of them don’t believe women have that same right in dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, but that’s for another day).

What they conveniently ignore is that they don’t have a right to put other people in danger. They don’t have the right to exercise their freedom without being constrained by the effect it has on others. 

We are past the time when we can wait for them to see the light. They never will. This means we must act on our own to protect ourselves from them. 

A consensus among health officials seems to be emerging that is focused on learning how to live with Covid without it killing us or disrupting our lives beyond the point of functionality.

Complicating the situation is a Supreme Court with a majority that believes in small government without the power to do what it is suppose to do, protect its people. So where does that leave us?

It leaves us with a moral and patriotic imperative to show our commitment to the common good. Companies and business and schools can do this by instituting a mandate for both a vaccine and a mask. Insurance companies can show moral and patriotic courage by adding a surcharge to the premiums of all unvaccinated customers. And even hospitals can do even more than they are doing by pushing the names of all unvaccinated people in their ER to the bottom of the admittance list.

Beyond these steps, families should tell unvaccinated members not to come to visit and not to show up for family gatherings (something some families are already doing). Churches should do the same thing.

Given the severity of the crisis we are in, none of these suggestions are unreasonable or too severe. We are beyond the point of thinking we can slog our way through this pandemic and come out okay.

I am aware as I write this that in my Christmas blog I suggested we all try to be nice to people we would rather not be nice to. I stand by that with the caveat that we are at a moment when we cannot allow our desire to be nice to prevent us from making the hard decisions we must make for the common good.

The common good. That is what matters most to people with a moral and patriotic conscience, doing the most good for the most people and refusing to allow the few who care only about themselves to put everyone else at risk.

A significant benefit of the majority protecting itself from the irresponsibility of the minority is that it ends up protecting the minority as well, even though they are so wrapped up in themselves they could care less about the rest of us.

Talk about irony of ironies. but if it is a step toward learning how to live with Covid instead of it killing us, who cares?

Oh, and one last thing, for what it’s worth, I am taking the additional step of choosing not to watch any NFL playoff game that Aaron Rodgers is in, no matter what team Green Bay is playing. And if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, I won’t be watching that either.