I’ve mentioned before Joe Schmo’s Biker’s Eatery in Sicamous B.C. on Highway 1 as a good place to stop for lunch or dinner and how the interior is festooned with quotes and jokes much loved by bikers who are not known for political correctness and may not even know what that means. One such quote reads: “Half of the voters in this country have less than average intelligence.”
Political misinformation finds ready reception in all countries including Canada and with the last election it was present in drifts and droves. Now behind us, it was interesting to note that the CBC had a leftish Toronto-centric leaning, whereas Calgary’s 770 CHQR harbored a mainly western, right-leaning bias. Listening to the latter, you can hear the most bizarre opinions on vaccinations being aired despite the host’s attempts to reign in some of the more preposterous wafflings.
I always knew that 10-12% of the population of this province were fatheads but did not realize it was higher than that. Oscar Wilde was, as usual, right: “By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
Every narrative is biased. My old friend Friedrich Neitzsche insisted there are no facts, only interpretations. Truth is separate from reality, and like Durga the Hindu Goddess with her eight arms, there will be multiple interpretations of the reality of, say, a traffic accident – as judges are well aware of.
Misinformation and disinformation have flourished in this pandemic. There is an obvious necessity to get everyone vaccinated, but there are many reasonable questions which so far are unanswered – such as the interplay of vaccination with sub-clinical and clinical infections for best resistance and immunity – which during non-pandemic times would be treated with respect and engender controlled studies. But the need to have a consistent party-line trumps the usual questioning and discussion leading to hypothesis generation and testing with a well-designed study. A hypothesis does not become a thesis until tested and confirmed. Too many of us, myself included, jump to conclusions if the hypothesis sounds good.
“Feasible misinformation. That’s always been the game in politics,” I said to Fran, one of the people who comes in to help clean the house. We were discussing the recent depressing federal election.
“But the problem now is it’s in everything,” Fran said. Yes, of course it is, thanks to the unrestrained super-spreaders Facebook and Twitter.
Now this is my real reason for warbling on about misinformation. I’ve become increasingly disturbed – morphing towards anger – about the disruption to the lives of vaccinated patients going on now within our hospitals. Excepting a few genuine medically excused, the unvaccinated fall into one or two of four buckets: the arrogant, the ignorant, the apprehensive and the apathetic. They are diverting medical help from those who have done the right thing. They age-range from silly millennials to old crackpots.
A dear relative of mine is in hospital with Alzheimer’s – in a locked unit – and has been so for two months. The ward has a reduced nurse-patient ratio, hard-pressed doctors and support staff, and no day-support programs. We have many suffering big delays in hip and knee replacements, and renal and other transplants. These unvaccinated fatheads filling up the wards can walk outside and take the sun, whereas my relative, who has devoted her life to helping adolescents in Edmonton and school children in Calgary, is unable to go out unaccompanied. She has been transitioned for placement, but long-term care facilities are full, and she is assessed a daily rate for her continuing care in the acute hospital while the unvaccinated chumps and numpties walk out grinning.
Rather than impunity, surely these people deserve an invoice for the cost of their care. After so many public health warnings and pleadings, and the continued half-witted misinformation they circulate, even a small penalty – a payment of a daily rate for their time in hospital – would be appropriate. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
American medical insurance companies are simply jacking up their rates for those without proof of vaccination. Good idea.
Editor’s note: The views, perspectives and opinions in this article are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of the AMA.
Banner image credit: Pete Linforth, Pixabay.com