This weekend, I went to a fall craft show with my mom in rural northern Illinois. Is this a good idea during a pandemic? No, it is not, but the organizers promoted the event as being “masks mandatory,” and it was outside (kinda), and my mom really wanted to go, so off I went.
Fifteen minutes later, after I had decided double masking was the way to go, we left. The event wound up being thousands of people, 99 percent of whom were unmasked, packed together in tents in 85-degree heat (with no air circulation whatsoever) at the county fairgrounds. Outside, an unmasked sheriff’s deputy dozed in a golf cart. The “masks required” sign at the entrance of every tent went largely ignored.
My thought upon leaving the craft “fair” was, “We are never getting out of this pandemic.”
I bring this up because, as we all know, there is still a huge portion of America that is dedicated to “asking questions” that were resolved by science decades (and in some cases hundreds of years) ago.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving is, unfortunately, part of this group.
It wasn’t cute when Kyrie took a little jaunt into questioning whether or not the earth was flat, especially when school kids across America started arguing with their teachers about it, citing Kyrie as the source. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t thoughtful, and it wasn’t intelligent by any stretch of the imagination. All it demonstrated was that Kyrie is enormously gullible to whatever he reads on the internet.
Alas, we find ourselves back in familiar territory, with the Brooklyn Nets announcing today that Irving will not practice or play with the team until he’s vaccinated, per New York City’s vaccination mandate.
“Again, my job here is to make what we deem as the best decision and best choices for the organization moving ahead as a whole,” Nets GM Sean Marks said today. “They’re not always ones that are going to be met with open arms and a thumbs-up. These are hard decisions. Just like I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Kyrie either to have to make that [decision] to not be around his teammates.”
The tragedy here is that, once again, Irving has fallen prey to online propaganda, at the expense of his career and the success of his teammates. So let’s be clear: Vaccines are not harmful. In the last 200 years, the average life expectancy has doubled, largely because of public health initiatives, like getting everyone vaccinated against diseases that used to kill us unimpeded. Guess why the average life expectancy is currently falling? That’s right, COVID.
Hell, if the anti-vaxx movement had started sooner, we never would have eradicated smallpox.
I know that Kyrie loves the image he’s cultivated of himself as a guy who thinks “outside the box” and “questions things.” but unless you’ve studied medicine and epidemiology thoroughly, you don’t get to make that claim about issues of public health. It’s irresponsible to do so. Questioning the efficacy and need for vaccines is just Joe Rogan galaxy-brain bullshit at this point, always proffered by a guy who almost always follows it up with something like “I’m not saying it’s true, I’m just asking the question.” Well stop it. Stop asking the question! You don’t even know enough to know what question to ask. And neither do the rest of us who didn’t spend years up to our ears in science.
As of today, the US has lost 716,000 souls to COVID. At this point, if you want to put yourself out there and risk it, so be it. There is clearly nothing anyone can do or say to change your mind, because being an anti-vaxxer is proudly part of your identity now. But if you’ve lived to the ripe old age of 29, like Irving has, take a second to think about how a big part of that is that you didn’t die of measles or polio in infancy. And shout out the scientists that made it possible, including the ones who are begging you to get vaccinated today.
So good for the Nets in not letting Kyrie’s latest Reddit rabbithole affect team rules put in place for everyone’s safety. And good for NYC for having such stringent COVID rules. If every entity out there put their foot down in the same way, we’d have been out of this pandemic a long time ago.