Another COVID outbreak appears to be upon us. As America celebrated significant milestones with vaccination efforts, many people were still spurred by misinformation and lack of evidence and education.
The COVID-19 vaccine naysayers are from all walks of society, from the uneducated to healthcare professionals. I think it’s fair to say that our civil liberties and part of our belief in freedom of choice will be the downfall of this nation. I am a believer in freedom of choice, but not at the expense of the greater good of society.
What I see right now is pure insanity and selfishness. Did humanity not learn from what just happened and is now beginning to happen again? Millions of people worldwide have died unnecessarily because of this virus. Not only that, people have been killed because of delays in treatments and diagnoses and stretched human and physical resources.
I am writing this letter as a plea. I am begging that authorities use the power that has been bestowed on them to protect society for the greater good. The COVID pandemic is the biggest pandemic in modern history. It came during a period of time with an imbalance between personal liberty and doing what is suitable for society. I am dumbfounded that simple asks, like wearing a mask, distancing, practicing basic hygiene, and getting vaccinated, have been ignored. The same people that refuse to get a vaccination for a somewhat preventable illness are dying in scores. They account for the majority of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.
As much as I don’t like wearing masks, I understand the importance. Vaccines help, but it’s important to note that they do not make you Superman or Superwoman. You can still be infected with COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, though it is likely to be less severe if you receive the vaccination. Also, once infected, you could still transmit this disease to your loved ones.
I feel we have gone too far with relaxing mask and distancing policies. As a society, we are far from herd immunity. There are other countries in this world, other healthcare providers, other mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons who do not have the opportunity to receive even one dose of the COVID vaccine. I wonder how they view the U.S. We have everything to combat COVID-19, but we allow politics, personal choices, and many other reasons to take precedent at the expense of societal collapse.
We need to review the concept of civil liberties. I believe that extreme extenuating situations such as this pandemic should put civil liberties on the back burner. Families trying so desperately to keep their young children and immunocompromised loved ones safe, and those who wish to receive the vaccination but for various reasons cannot, depend on you. They count on society to do the right thing.
Our society is more educated, and has more technology and access to new research, but this is not translating into action and policymaking. Until we as a society get back to the basics, where we value and truly respect one another, where we support the most vulnerable consistently, I feel sorry for this world — the writing is on the wall.
My friends who are reading this, my colleagues in the medical profession, my fellow civilians of this planet, please heed my words. This pandemic is far from over. As long as we continue to battle with misinformation, ignorance, and frankly, selfishness, this pandemic will rage on.
I have spoken and written a few times on this because I am passionate about my message. I salute my fellow healthcare workers. I know you are exhausted. I know that you likely feel taken advantage of by society and feel angry, which is more than warranted.
Healthcare workers are leaving their jobs in droves. This mass exodus is being seen all over the U.S. and Canada; the constant demands of working long hours and continuous trauma on even the most stoic provider. The exodus of healthcare workers, first responders, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals will be detrimental to society. We are losing individuals on the front lines who became versed in treating this horrible virus. When people are fed up, exhausted, mentally ill, and feel taken for granted, they often reach the point of no return. We all know how long it takes to train healthcare professionals. It takes many more years after completing professional training to become truly skilled and competent.
The future is looking more grave each day. My concern for my children’s future was part of why I had to pivot during the pandemic and take a break from clinical practice after a decade of practice. I was exhausted, frustrated, felt taken for granted, and thought that those who could make sweeping changes were silent. I decided to use my privilege as a physician to speak boldly for those who were too afraid. I am a mother who loves her children more than my life, and I will do anything within my power to make sure their future is protected. I have been a consistent voice of reason during this pandemic, and frankly, I will not stop.
Please join me and respectfully fight misinformation. Do the right thing for society.
Tomi Mitchell, MD, is a family physician.
This post appeared on KevinMD.