After covering the pandemic in West Virginia for the last 18 months and talking about it nearly every day on my radio show, I have had an epiphany.
The moment of clarity comes from my growing frustration with those who won’t get vaccinated or take the virus seriously, and their anger toward me for continuing to push shots-in-arms and a narrative based on consensus science.
The realization can be summarized with two cliches (my specialty).
First, it is what it is.
Sixty percent of West Virginians eligible to get vaccinated have gotten their shots, so that leaves a sizable chunk that have not. The average daily vaccination rate for the most recent seven-day period is below 1,700. That is a snail’s pace.
Despite health warnings, cajoling, shaming, and even requiring, in some instances, thousands of West Virginians are not going to get vaccinated or at least not vaccinated in time to curb the current surge.
Why so many people want the virus to continue to surge is incomprehensible to me, but that is the reality on the ground.
Second, you do you.
The line of demarcation between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated is becoming more pronounced. The level of entrenchment of the unvaccinated corresponds with the increasing testiness directed at them from the vaccinated.
I have done my share of shaming, which has only made matters worse. The independent streak among many West Virginians has become as hardened as a hickory tree. But more than a few of the anti-vaxers are snowflakes who cannot bear to have their world view challenged.
So, for those of you who have been vaccinated and anxiously await the booster, I’m with you. The vaccine is the safest and most effective way to fight the virus and return to some sense of normalcy in our lives.
For most of you who are not getting the shot, well, at this point I don’t believe anything will change your mind. Frankly, you probably won’t get sick. Most people don’t, but many do, and some get very sick. Hospitals have more Covid patients now than the winter peak and about 80 percent of those are not vaccinated.
But you do you.
Oh, and there is one other thing. The virus is a living thing that is in constant search for a host where it can infect cells and make copies of itself. New variants appear. The virus gets a say in this as well, and that brings me to another simple slogan.
The virus is going to do what the virus does, at least if West Virginians continue on the current course.