December 6, 2021

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No schadenfreude here, as well-meaning woman almost dies from misinformation

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This mom had no stupid memes, no holier-than-thou postings or bragging about how she was vaccinated by Jesus. She made her choice in silence. It was the wrong choice, but she wasn’t spreading mis- and disinformation. 

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In a perfect world, she would’ve been hospitalized at the first signs of symptoms and given monoclonal antibodies. But it’s not a perfect world, because the unvaxxed have overrun hospitals. That means that treatments that could save many lives are not available to the newly infected. 

And of course, god forbid you need other life-saving treatment unrelated to COVID. Those hospitals are full, the end. 

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Her history of leukemia meant she was among the first to be eligible for the vaccine, yet she didn’t because “all the sea of information on line made it impossible for me to decide what was best.” 

Health authorities, the entire medical and scientific communities, her doctors (almost assuredly), all begging her to take the vaccine, but she was paralyzed into indecision because of Facebook memes from random people online. That’s how powerful Facebook’s sea of mis- and disinformation is. It was impossible for her to figure out what was best for her. 

Her doctor vs. Facebook memes. 

Impossible.

She didn’t spread that misinformation, she got her daughter vaccinated, and she’s now sorry for her actions and urging others to get vaccinated, so I can truly feel sorry for her. She wasn’t smart enough to trust the very doctors that saved her life when she had cancer. That’s how powerful Facebook is. She is truly a victim.

It also shows how powerful those “99.x% survive” memes can be. No one thinks that they’ll ever be in that small percentage, or the less small percentage that will be hospitalized like this mom. 

The actual number is 98.2% of COVID patients survive. Applied to the entire U.S. population, if everyone got COVID, that would mean nearly 6 million dead. Are those really the odds you want to play? Since this mom is Canadian, that number would be 684,000 if all Canadians got the disease. Less than 29,000 Canadians have died so far of COVID. 

98-99% seems like great odds, and they are! But they don’t tell the full picture—the agony and suffering of a serious infection, the cost to society of overflowing hospitals and unrecovered medical expenses. The financial toll on families, losing critical income and even having to retool homes for COVID-related disabilities. 

And someone is part of that 1-2% who don’t make it. Why assume it wouldn’t be you? I never would, not when being on the losing end of those odds is so … terminal. 

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So glad she made it, and so glad she’s now using that second lease on life to talk about the importance of vaccinations. 

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No one should ever want to be in this situation, even if you don’t end up on the losing end of “99% survive!” As this mom said, she can’t even “describe how painfully brutal and horrifically cruel COVID is.” 

This is why these stories are important. Mass media coverage of the pandemic revolves around the pain of loss, the impact on the economy, the raw numbers (“X number died”), and at worst, pictures of temporary morgues outside hospitals. They don’t tell the individual stories, and how this disease impacts patients on a day-to-day basis. It’s … too gory? Too difficult? Whatever the reason, we are presented with a sanitized version of what it’s like to actually have the disease. Banalities like “she died peacefully and is now with Jesus” sanitize the suffering even more. 

I’m thrilled this mom didn’t die. I’m thrilled that she didn’t keep her daughter from getting vaccinated. I’m thrilled that her 10-year-old will be vaccinated when Canada approves the vaccine for younger people. And I’m glad she’s not shy about sharing her story, and letting others know the importance of vaccination. She didn’t sanitize, and for that, she is doing our world a great service. 

God speed in her recovery. 



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