Those who have done their part to prevent the spread of Covid-19 should be frustrated with those who haven’t. It’s been nearly two years since we first entered the pandemic, and those of us who have worn masks, social distanced, and gotten vaccinated are tired of feeling like our efforts are made worthless.


On a personal level, I’m tired of trying to get the people in my life who won’t cooperate within Covid-19 safety guidelines to try. On a national level, I’m becoming apathetic. 


Seemingly, others feel the same. The narrative that we should deny treatment to anti-vaxxers who are suffering from Covid-19 is becoming increasingly prevalent. The argument is that these anti-vaxxers, people who have long denied and belittled the seriousness of the pandemic, should be denied medical treatment because they are responsible for perpetuating the pandemic long past the two week shutdown we initially imagined. 


This is where I disagree. 


Yes, anti-vaxxers have spread extremely harmful misinformation as quickly and consistently as they have spread the virus itself. Yes, I am angry with them. Yes, I have wide, far-reaching moral disagreements with them. However-- they are still people.


Nearly 100% of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated. Some of them are anti-vaxxers. Some of them are simply unvaccinated. There is a difference. By lumping them together into a group deemed unworthy of potentially life-saving treatments by the general public, we make a horrific blunder.


Anti-vaxxers should absolutely face the consequences of their actions and words. Their narratives should be combatted long before they reach the hospital. We’re lacking serious behavioral regulations regarding the spread of misinformation from both public institutions and personal interventions. This is, in itself, a massive public health issue and national sickness. 


Healthcare should be free and universal. In our reality, it is not. Choices have to be made regarding who gets treated and who doesn’t. In an emergency situation, consequences for the unvaccinated may mean they’re last on the list to receive medical attention. Those who willingly refuse medical care in the form of vaccination and later need emergency care for something preventable are incredibly frustrating. Regardless, preventable deaths should not be used as pawns for anyone to gain moral high ground. 


We deserve to be angry about the mishandling of the pandemic. Who deserves to receive this anger, though?


By choosing to exclusively direct this anger at our peers instead of our failing systems, we miss the majority of the problem. Be angry at those who have deliberately prolonged the spread of a deadly virus, absolutely. But be angry at our government for taking actions like funding defense contractors and their own personal vacations instead of bolstering our healthcare system, too. 


There has been ample opportunity within the past two years, not even considering our reality before Covid-19, to build more hospitals, to train even more doctors and nurses, to significantly raise their pay and increase their benefits, to begin totally reshaping our healthcare system.


Our political leaders have been incredibly inconsistent in their guidelines, mandates, and communications. This failure of clarity has cost us thousands of lives. They have refused so many opportunities to lessen triage situations in our hospitals.


By looking past this governmental and political negligence, we misdirect much of our pain and frustration. Pointing the finger at each other is necessary in attempting to inspire more vaccinations and stop the spread of misinformation, but ultimately it is a distraction from the bigger picture, as well. Anger without direction and action is anger wasted.


Let's get mad about that.

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