How it started / How it’s going
Here are the sources for the screenshots above:
- How it started: New York Post, July 15, 2021 — Gov. Ron DeSantis sells ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida’ merch
- How it’s going: AP News, July 30, 2021 — Florida breaks record with more than 21,000 new COVID cases
Here are the first three paragraphs of the AP article:
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday, as its theme park resorts again started asking visitors to wear masks indoors.
The state has become the new national epicenter for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the U.S. as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.
Here are the numbers that Google reported last night, around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 31st…
…and here’s what the New York Times is reporting this morning (Sunday, August 1st):
If you look at the CDC’s COVID tracking map, all of the southeast United States is experiencing high levels of transmission:
Freedom necessitates responsibility
In the American Catholic magazine Commonweal, theologian and philosopher David Bentley Hart puts into words what many of us who didn’t grow up in the U.S. education system have internalized: Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. One major consequence of this indoctrination is that many people treat freedom as being able to yell “You can’t tell me what to do!” and forgetting that freedom also means taking on responsibilities. Many Americans know the adage “Freedom isn’t free”, but are a little unclear on the coin used to pay for it.
The result of this simplistic approach to freedom is summarized in Ryan Cooper’s article in The Week (featured in the screenshot above): America’s narrow idea of freedom is literally killing us. He poses the question “Which country is more free during the pandemic: the United States or Vietnam?”, and to borrow a popular internet clickbait phrase, the answer will shock you.
Despite the fact that the vaccine was available in the U.S. sooner than in Canada, Canada’s vaccine rate overtook the U.S.’s a couple of weeks ago, thanks to a strong anti-vaccination quack movement and a particularly American brand of Lysenkoism, we still have a significant chunk of the population who refuse to get vaccinated.
The tragic end result will be more stories like the one above, in which a Jacksonville woman lost her grandmother, fiancé, and mother to COVID — all in the space of a week. She tested positive for COVID and was not vaccinated, and neither were her fiancé or mother. She’s now telling people to get vaccinated and plans to get vaccinated herself. (And because this is America, her best shot at digging out of her financial hole might be the GoFundMe that a neighbor set up for her. Throw some cash her way if you’re able.)
So use your freedom wisely, because it appears that as far as COVID’s concerned, remember that more freedom means more responsibility. If it is all about choice as Florida’s “Like Trump, but with an attention span and a work ethic” governor says it is, choose wisely:
- Get vaccinated if you haven’t already,
- Avoid crowded places — especially indoor ones — where the majority are unmasked,
- Mask up when in enclosed spaces with lots of people,
- Give the unvaccinated a wide berth, and
- Practice some of that team spirit and resilience that Americans are supposed to have.