The New (Selfish) Culture of Death

This post began as a response to another medical worker who was arguing against the trifecta of masks/social distancing/shutdowns, claiming at one point (anonymized since it wasn’t a world-public post):

so [sic] is the fact that it has affected less than 1% of the U.S [sic] and world populations [sic] (by stats). The lockdown done [sic] to destroy economies.
so [sic] is the fact that it has affected less than 1% of the U.S [sic] and world populations [sic] (by stats). The lockdown done [sic] to destroy economies.

Let me not bury the lede: I am horrified at fellow medical professionals publicly spreading and doubling down on disinformation that directly makes people less safe and contributes to people getting sick and dying. Particularly if they use “the economy” as their rationale.

This disease spreads via droplet (and there’s research out today) that it may persist in the air for a while.

We have real-world experimental conditions where it’s blatantly obvious that the combo of quarantining, masks, and distancing are effective in stopping the virus (see: New Zealand).

Masks, social distancing, and shutdowns are even effective after an initial outbreak in reducing the impact of the virus (see: Italy, Germany).

Our testing levels are still low compared to other industrialized nations (see: South Korea), so it’s a guarantee that the infection (and death) rates we see now are under reported.

There is more and more data showing that the long term health effects – even if you “recover” – effect pulmonary, cardiovascular, and mental health, which will greatly effect our economy for decades to come.

This long drawn out agony where people mistake “flattening the curve” with “it’s gone” and causing new spikes (you realize we’re still in the first wave, right?) are wreaking social, medical, and economic havoc. And it’s worse because of the people arguing against masks, social distancing, and shutdowns.

Without a vaccine, there is NO repeat NO action for the general public to take OTHER than distancing, staying home as much as possible, and wearing masks ALL the time outside the house until this virus does not have hosts in the region.

While that causes economic distress (estimates are 10% GDP for the peak of shutdowns in the US), that’s far less than, say, the percentages of GDP spent for WWII. And with the specter of a second shutdown being needed, the economic impacts will be greater because – wait for it – enough people thought the first shutdown, masks, and distancing were hooey.

Yes, the guidance has changed over the last six months, as we’ve learned more about the virus and how it spreads. This is nothing new. Hell, the idea of “standard precautions” in medicine has changed dramatically in my professional life (e.g. curos caps), and that has SAVED LIVES. You learn new information and you do the best you can in order to save lives.

I am not sure what is so unclear about any of this. I do not understand why anyone would make such a big deal about wearing masks or socially distancing when the alternative is more people dying. It seems like nothing more than selfishness, nothing more than being annoyed at a temporary inconvenience.

I am well on record as being in the medical field by chance, and staying in it because it pays well. I try to do my job professionally and to the best of my ability.

And yet I, without being “called” to medicine, am horrified at fellow medical professionals publicly spreading and doubling down on disinformation that directly makes people less safe and contributing to people getting sick and dying.

Especially when they use “the economy” as their rationale.

So let me be clear to my fellow Americans, and particularly to fellow medical professionals who know better and have no excuse:

Every time you refused to wear a mask, every time you have argued against wearing a mask in public, you became responsible for more death.

Those deaths are on you.

Maybe your words and actions normalized it. Maybe you were the person who convinced another who convinced another. Maybe you were just part of a statistic. Maybe a friend later said “yeah, well, I know someone who doesn’t wear them,” and convinced others.

You contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

Your actions have directly – even if partially – led to death.

Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, famously said “I have become death, destroyer of worlds.”

Atomic bombs have killed somewhere around 100,000 people in wartime.

This virus has killed more people than that in just the United States in just six months.

Congratulations of being part of the real culture of death.

May whatever god there is have mercy on your soul.

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