The public is tuning out the danger

Areas with more people vaccinated are found to have lower rates of infection. I’m tempted to add “You don’t say!” but the Post reports that in fact that wasn’t true until now.

As recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases, but immunization rates have diverged, and case counts in the highly vaccinated states are dropping quickly.

But experts worry that unvaccinated people are falling into a false sense of security as more transmissible variants can rapidly spread in areas with a high concentration of unvaccinated people who have abandoned masking and social distancing.

Local public health officials fear the public is tuning out the danger as they see news reports of cratering infections and scenes of reopened bars and entertainment venues across the nation, assuming vaccinations are no longer necessary.

Missouri’s Polk County — where less than a quarter of the population of roughly 30,000 is fully vaccinated — has reported nearly 90 new infections in one week, an increase after several months of decline.

Just get the damn shots, people. This isn’t a game.

Kim Lionberger, director of the [Sweetwater, Wyoming] county board of health, said her staff is doing the best they can to provide scientific facts about the virus and the vaccines. But they are also competing with skeptical residents who prefer affirmation to information and find it from anti-vaccine doctors and questionable reports on Facebook.

“The mentality of people in Wyoming is that rugged individualism where they do their own thing and don’t want people telling them what they should be doing because they are going to do what they want to do,” said Lionberger.

Also known as utter heedless selfishness.

Stachon isn’t sure what she would do if a highly contagious variant tears through the community and some have already been detected. The Wyoming legislature restricted the powers of public health officials like her to put disease control measures in place.

“For me to try to say we need to go back and mask or do anything like that, I would almost think I need police protection,” Stachon said. “It’s just sad. You feel impotent.”

Sad and infuriating. More infuriating than sad, really, because the heedless selfishness harms others as well as the heedless selfish people.

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