Every day, there is another story about the death of an anti-vaccination advocate to COVID-19.
Quite literally every day. Websites are dedicated to tracking these deaths, and not a day goes by that another name is not added to their list of anti-vaxxers who have succumbed to COVID-19.
The list is exceedingly long, and it includes:
At least a dozen extremely popular conservative radio hosts
Amongst the anti-vaxxers who died last week was Kelly Ernby, a vocal critic of vaccine mandates and denier of basic medical science.
Ernby, a California resident, was an Orange County deputy district attorney, a local Republican Party official, and a 2019 GOP candidate for state Assembly.
Now she’s dead at the age of 46. Unvaccinated, of course, as almost all COVID-19 deaths are these days. In fact, nearly every vaccinated person who has died of COVID-19 in the last three months suffered from at least four comorbidities in addition to COVID-19.
If you’re even marginally healthy and fully vaccinated and boosted, your chances of surviving COVID-19 are exceptional. In fact, data released this week suggested that a fully vaccinated and boosted adult is more likely to survive an omicron infection (which amounts for 99% of all COVID-19 infections in the US) than the seasonal flu.
Vaccines work. If you’re vaccinated and boosted, you might get sick (as I did) but will almost certainly not die.
But here’s the important part:
It would be easy to view Emily Ernby and her fellow anti-vaxxers as ignorant and foolish, but let’s not forget that significant elements of the Republican party, in partnership with right wing media, have consistently supported anti-vax theories, promoted unproven, fringe treatments, and spread blatant lies about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
Emily Ernby died for a stupid reason, but she was also the victim of a campaign of systematic, politically weaponized misinformation. Politicians and right wing media seeking to profit off eroding trust in vaccines and science are killing Americans every day.
Let us not hate the anti-vaxxers who die of COVID-19. Let us not gloat over their passing.
Let us instead despise those who spread the misinformation that is killing so many, and let’s work like hell to vote them out of office whenever we have the chance.