You know we’ve reached a low point as a country when even the loyal-to-a-deadly-and-illogical-fault supporters of former President Donald Trump boo him when he recommends vaccinations against COVID-19. "I believe totally in your freedoms, I do, you gotta do what you gotta do, but I recommend take the vaccines,” the former president said at a rally on Saturday in Cullman, Alabama. “I did it. It's good.” The crowd responded with boos.
"That's okay, that's alright," Trump pressed on. "But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. But it is working. You do have your freedoms, you have to maintain that." Trump is only the latest Republican to make the 180-degree turn from denying the virus to falling in line with efforts to see the general public vaccinated. "These shots need to get in everybody's arm as rapidly as possible, or we're going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don't yearn for, that we went through last year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month. "Ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice."
Fox pundits took similar stances. “Please take COVID seriously," Fox News host Sean Hannity told his viewers last month. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need anymore death. Research like crazy.” Hannity added: “Talk to your doctor, your doctors, medical professionals you trust based on your unique medical history, your current medical condition, and you and your doctor make a very important decision for your own safety. Take it seriously. You also have a right to medical privacy. Doctor-patient confidentiality’s also important, and it absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”
GOP Rep. Barry Moore went from calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "tyrant" for enforcing a mask mandate to encouraging people to talk to their doctors about getting the vaccine. Catching COVID-19 apparently led to the difference in messaging for him. Moore posted on Facebook Friday:
“I’m sad to share that Heather and I have tested positive for COVID-19. To every extent possible, I will continue working virtually while recovering in quarantine.
While I believe every American has the freedom to make their own health-related decisions, I encourage talking with your doctor about the different vaccines and therapies available and making an informed decision about the prevention and treatment that is best for you. Now is the time to act—don’t wait until you or someone you love is sick.
Please join me and Heather in praying for our country and world as we fight this horrible virus. We’re thankful for the support and prayers on our behalf.”
Not every Republican leader, however, is embracing reality, and the result has been a dangerous trickle-down effect of conspiracy theories and lies. Since states have started re-implementing mask mandates and urging vaccinations amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, entitled protesters have taken to voicing their concerns in the most inappropriate ways, some also turning to violence. ”A parent in Northern California barged into his daughter’s elementary school and punched a teacher in the face over mask rules,” Associated Press reporters wrote. “At a school in Texas, a parent ripped a mask off a teacher’s face during a ‘Meet the Teacher’ event.”
Dozens of unmasked demonstrators lined the entrance of Hawaii's Lt. Gov. Josh Green's condo building, where he lives with his wife, their 14-year-old, and their 10-year-old. “They should protest me at my place of work, where I’m the lieutenant governor,” Green told the AP. “But it’s different than flashing a strobe light into a 90-year-old woman’s apartment or a strobe light into a family’s apartment, where they have two kids under age 4.”
Hawaii. Gov. David Ige told KHON last month that the only thing more alarming where the pandemic is concerned than the six-day triple-digit spike in COIVD-19 cases was the lagging number of people getting vaccinated. “We administered about 15,000 vaccinations per week in the month of July,” Ige told the news station. “So that’s significantly lower than, for example, in May, it was at 72,000 per week. So based at that pace, it would probably go into September before we hit 70%.”
Ige “took a lot of heat” for keeping a mask mandate in place even in May when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that those who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks, KHON writer Lauren Day wrote. The CDC has since changed that guidance to advise that masks be worn indoors.
Green, an emergency room doctor, told the AP he wasn't home during the recent anti-masking and anti-vaccination protest. Instead, he was treating COVID-19 patients on the Big Island. “I will personally be taking care of these individuals in the hospital as their doctor when they get sick from refusing to wear masks and refusing to be vaccinated,” he said.
The California father banned from his daughter’s school in the Amador County Unified School District could face criminal charges after he became enraged when his daughter returned from school one day wearing a mask, the AP reported. Vaccinated teachers were permitted to take their masks off, Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Torie Gibson told the Associated Press. When the parent caught wind of the rule, he went to the principal's office, and the teacher later joined them. That’s when the father got violent, the AP reported. “The teacher had some lacerations and bruising on his face and a knot on the back of his head,” Gibson said.
He was treated and able to return to the classroom the next day, but the incident triggered a fearful and hesitant atmosphere at the school. “The teachers have definitely been on edge. They are fearful because the last thing they want is to have an issue with a parent,” Gibson told the AP. “They definitely looked over their shoulder for quite a few days, but I think things are now a little bit more calm.”
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