Abbott, TX

Dear Governor Abbott, You Are Taking Texas in the Wrong Direction

Melinda Crow

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AUSTIN, TEXAS-- Sure, let's open Texas back up to 100%. We don’t need mask mandates because Texans can decide for themselves how to behave. Really, governor? You and your Ted buddies (Cruz and Nugent) continue to behave like idiots while Texans die. Do you even watch the news? More importantly, do you read social media posts? You know, the ones where your followers proudly proclaimed victory over mask mandates the minute you announced they would be lifted.

We just need to continue to build our herd immunity

This one really gets my neck up. I actually read a social media post written by Ted Nugent recently. (I forgot that Uncle Ted has a degree in virology and another one in communicable diseases. Not.)

The thinking is that if we'd quit staying inside and stop this social distancing crap we'd all get it quicker and get back to normal quicker. Well, except for the old people and people with co-morbidities, plus those unlucky enough to hit the COVID jackpot and kick off without having any underlying health conditions.

The fallacy of this plan is that even at extreme rates of spread and new variants, it becomes harder and harder to keep up with the vaccines. Even once we have vaccinated everyone who wants to be, we're still looking at a huge portion of Texans who will refuse the vaccine.

But Uncle Ted has things all figured out. He seems to imply that those who are not taking care of their health "with vitamin C, sunshine, and the things God gave us to actually heal," either are doing something wrong if we get sick with COVID or that we deserve to die.

Do you honestly think that those of us with underlying health conditions aren't living right? Or that our lives should be easily dismissed while the rest of you get your herd on?

I don’t drink, smoke, do illicit drugs, and am not overweight. I do yoga. I meditate. I’ve lowered my salt and sugar intake to reasonable levels. I eat fruits and veggies. I am in the sunshine every damn day. I take Vitamin C. I haven't had the flu in like, ever (oh, but I do get that killer vaccine you and Uncle Ted hate), and I've only had three colds in the last decade. And those I got over quickly with zinc supplements. I kind of think I know how to take proper care of myself.

And yet, I have an underlying health condition. I have a chronic autoinflammatory disorder that affects the lining of my heart. I've had it for over ten years. Want to know what multiple doctors say caused it? A virus that I probably never even knew I contracted (starting to sound a little familiar?)

It's just a virus

"It's just a virus," you say.

Seriously?

Ebola is a virus. Want to work on THAT herd immunity?

How about rabies? Pardon me while I ask the government to trample your rights by insisting that your pets get a vaccine that might save us all (pets and humans alike) from a horrible death. I am willing to bet that Uncle Ted's hunting dogs get their annual shots, but by God, he's not wearing a mask for a stupid virus.

Remember Hantavirus, from rat droppings? Let's get it over with and all go sniff around some rats' nests.

AIDS possibly? Oh, but you’re probably above that one. You'd never get it, so no worries there.

We do have herd immunity for some viruses, namely chickenpox, smallpox, and measles. How did we get there? Vaccines, thank you very much.

And how about viruses that leave victims with lasting damage, like smallpox?

Have you ever seen someone with a serious case of shingles? I have. It is horrific, with pain and disabilities that often last for years--all caused by chickenpox they had when they were children.

Coxsackievirus is one with relatively mild symptoms in the majority of patients, but one that scientists are just now beginning to understand the long-term effects of.

Epstein-Barr virus. Now there's doozy. It causes mononucleosis-- mostly in teenagers. Remember, in our day, it was jokingly called "kissing disease." Something like 99% of people recover from mono fairly easily, but the long-term effects can be crippling for the unlucky few. It has been scientifically linked to lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly even chronic pericarditis like I have.

The point is, that this virus we are fighting now is too new for anyone to know everything about it, especially not you and Uncle Ted. We have no idea what the lasting effects will be. Hell, we aren't even sure how many people it kills yet, and you want to roll the dice. No thank you.

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