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Forum, May 2: Conflicting information can be hard to vaccinate against

Published: 5/4/2021 10:45:22 AM
Modified: 5/5/2021 10:51:31 AM
Conflicting information can be hard to vaccinate against

The psychology of early COVID-19 deniers — “it’s exaggerated, no mask for me,” etc. — was quite well explained, both by professionals and casual observers of human behavior. Now there’s a new class of deniers who won’t accept vaccination’s fundamental purpose: immunity.

As David Leonhardt explained in The New York Times recently, we confuse real risk — car crashes, for example — with “salient risk,” that which is new and unfamiliar. “The vaccines have nearly eliminated death, hospitalization and other serious COVID illness. The vaccines have also radically reduced the chance that people contract even a mild version of COVID or can pass it on to others.” This immunity denial is likely to persist in monocultural communities, where independent thinking is unpopular and there’s a handy Other to perseverate over.

Wait ... late news from that same paper of record last Monday. This from Dr. Muge Cevik, a lecturer on infectious disease and medical virology at St. Andrews School of Medicine in Scotland: “We’re in a different stage … I think outdoor masks should not have been mandated at all. It’s not where the infection and transmission occurs.” Oops, more bad news for the neurotics to deal with.

Dick Mackay

Hanover

A genocide closer to home

Kudos to President Biden for recognizing the Armenian genocide. It is heartening to have a president act for moral reasons and not political expediency.

Are President Biden and members of Congress prepared to recognize the genocide perpetrated by our forebears against the Native Americans and begin to make amends?

Amos Kornfeld

Norwich




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