Vaccine hesitancy explained
Like everyone else, I looked forward to the COVID vaccine as if my life and everyone else’s depended on it. But then I began to read the data and became skeptical about what we’d been told about the novel SARS-CoV-2. The turning point for me came when the experts said we’d have to continue to wear masks and practice at least some degree of social distancing despite being vaccinated. It was evident the world would reopen when the government said so. That is not science; that is control.
I’m not a virologist. I don’t have a degree in anything except, perhaps, common sense from a background of hard knocks. I lived through several virus outbreaks over my lifetime; many with a much higher death rate, especially among children, pregnant women and the elderly than the novel respiratory illness associated with SARS-CoV-2. My brother was a victim of the first wave of deaths and misuse of therapeutics after contracting AIDS from the HIV virus back in the late 1980′s. To date, there is no HIV vaccine. You understand my skepticism.
If the COVID virus killed even 2% of the general population, I’d be first in line to get it. But it doesn’t even come close. People praise hindsight. “Look what we’ve learned!” they trumpet. Yes, look what we’ve learned. We were unprepared to contain a super-spreader virus unleashed in a way yet to be determined and those who were responsible still have yet to be been held accountable. Luckily, for everyone, it wasn’t a super killer and miraculously, virtually every healthy child was spared all together except for slight symptoms that mimicked the common cold.
Our medical infrastructure was compromised by complacency, lack of foresight and oversight, inaccurate models and projections, and mass budget cuts. We entrusted our health and mortality to bureaucratic, international and foreign government agencies funded by special interest groups whose purpose was to identify and make sure such a pandemic of this magnitude never happened.
I am a proponent of vaccines and have gotten my influenza vaccine religiously for the last 20 years. I can’t say the same for many of my friends and relatives who rushed to take the COVID vaccine, but never would get a flu shot. Why is it unreasonable for me to question and use a wait and see approach before injecting myself with a brand-new vaccine for a disease most people don’t die from? One day I’ll feel confident enough to get the COVID jab. But not yet. I have simply lost all trust in “science”. Logic is my new science. Think of people like me as the control group, not an outlier or unpatriotic. I made it this far; time is on my side.
Cheers to those who’ve been vaccinated. I really do applaud you. But if you feel the urge to ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated, don’t. A vaccinated person is no more a hero than one who isn’t. I made the same sacrifices during the lockdown as everyone else and more to stop the spread, but I’m not ready to give up my body in the name of science. If I’ve learned any lesson from this past 16 months of misery, death, isolation, loneliness, a crashed economy, loss of income and freedoms, and an America that may never fully recover spiritually and morally, it’s this: be very afraid and skeptical of those in charge. Practice skepticism, not blind obedience. Question the science, know the source.
If my position offends you, it doesn’t make you right. Anything we do in the name of our own health should be by choice.
Carol Dray, St. Petersburg
Wear a mask, please
Barbs and praise for Tampa Bay stores that still require masks | June 20
While I encourage my students and others to ask “Why?” when confronted with a questionable situation, the current COVID-19 devastation is unquestionably cold hard fact. People are dying. Yes, people the world over are getting vaccinated, but not enough anywhere to achieve the blissful “herd immunity” that medical experts have been dangling in front of us for seemingly eons. I applaud shopkeepers who are politely asking patrons to “please wear a mask while in my store.” Yet, as I read in the Times — again —there remains this herd of small-minded, self-centered humans who resent being asked to think of others and “please wear a mask.” Very disappointing.
Kirk Hazlett, adjunct professor in communication/public relations at the University of Tampa
Still fighting over billionaires
“Back off the billionaires | Letters, June 22
I would like to add perspective to the opinion shared by the letter writer: Amazon does employ a large labor force in the U.S. which it burns through every eight months. This is not a stable, viable path to the middle-class, and Amazon’s abusive environment is well documented. Bezos thinks employees are lazy and doesn’t want to retain a long-term labor force, and so provides almost no opportunities for advancement of line-workers.
The middle class was created in the years after World War II until the mid-1970s. In those years the top tax rate on high incomes was at least 70 percent. Unions were strong and prosperity was widely shared among all income levels. Since 1980, $50 trillion has been siphoned from the bottom 90 percent of earners to the top economic elite (1%). This occurred largely through government policies that favored corporations like the suppression of wages, and tax-cuts for billionaires like Bezos. If the middle-class had the share of national income they had in the more equal years 1950 through 1970s, family incomes in 2021 would be $15,000 to $20,000 higher. Instead that money is in the coffers of the uber-rich, and they pay a smaller tax-rate than many in the middle-class.
Robert White, Valrico
The difference between wealth and income
Secret IRS files show billionaires skip income taxes | June 20
The article, “Secret IRS files show billionaires skip income taxes”, is really an opinion piece that confuses income with wealth and only includes profits but not losses in income. So, for example, when arguing that when a person’s wealth increases, that person should pay a tax on the increase, one needs to distinguish whether that wealth increase was due to receipt of income or whether it’s a passive increase in the value of that person’s net assets, such as what’s called an unrealized capital gain.
If one had to pay tax on the increased value of ones assets, it might be necessary to sell those assets, whether it be stock or personal or business property, in order to come up with the required cash to pay the Internal Revenue Service. This could be potentially damaging to that person’s investment, home mortgage, or business strategy. Furthermore, if income tax were due solely on annual profits and could not be offset by annual losses, again it might be necessary to sell assets in order to pay the IRS. Clearly, everyone should only have to pay taxes on annual net income.
J. Leslie Glick, Lutz