You don't want to be the last soldier to die in the war, Jim.
That gentle admonition from my doctor, who has been on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 for more than a year, is something that I wish more would heed.
But no, somehow we have a national system that's trying to solve the pandemic while we have a series of governors who are so anxious to show that they aren't going to knuckle under to the masks, to the social distancing, to the lack of crowds that they are declaring their states wide open for business. Texas, for example, just came down with 33,000 cases of COVID in the past week. So what, Governor Greg Abbott, the state's dropping all of those silly mandates because it is time to roll up your sleeves and go back to work.
Put aside that 44,000 tough-as-nails Texans have died from COVID, can we just understand the genuine insanity of wanting your people to be the last to be killed in the great COVID war of 2020-21? Here we have finally a national effort, on war footing, with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Merck (MRK) getting together with the Department of Defense to get everyone vaccinated perhaps by June and that's not fast enough for Abbott. So why wait at all?
I hear these things and I think, wait a second, we have these brilliant scientists all rowing together. We are going to get all the vaccines we want but we have to figure out a way to get them into people's arms. When we have done that, this pandemic's going to be finished. But as Alex Gorsky, the CEO of JNJ told us last night, we still have to be vigilant, no more big outbreaks, until everyone's been jabbed. But in our ridiculous system of states' rights we have to watch while some governors don't seem to care if their citizens are the last people to die in the war.
You would think that perhaps those governors who want to open everything might be super savvy about the whole vaccine process and figure out how, in particular to get them into the arms of the least fortunate and the most exposed because of the kinds of jobs they have, but it's the opposite, of course. Texas doesn't have a hammerlock on how to administer vaccines. Only seven percent of the state is vaccinated, or two million people. I don't want to mess with Texas or Texans until that number is higher.
Look I don't want to pick on Texas other than the governor seems to be going out of his way to court danger, the danger that we all pretty much know someone who has died from. I am simply pointing out that we are so close to beating this thing what's the point of risking your people dying in the name of more commerce?
Someone has to be the last person to die of this infernal cursed plague. But let it be someone who tried to beat it and failed not someone who said, yes, why wait 10 more weeks, when we can go get hammered now? Why spend time figuring out how to mass inoculate when you can mass shop?
Oh and can I make one last point? I don't know whether Democrats were the last people to die in World War II or Republicans, Same with Vietnam or Korea. But I do know this, if they could have been prevented the person who did that, now that person would be a hero.
What does that make the leaders who spur science? I will let you decide what to call them, I am sick of the name-calling from the last regime. Just don't call them brave. Ill-advised is more like it.