To the Editor:
I found it upsetting to read in the Viewpoint by Constantinos E Scaros on January 22 that he and his family “high-fived” when they tested positive for COVID. Millions of people have died from this terrible virus, [5.5 million worldwide, according to Our World in Data/The Economist/Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation as of January 13] and it is highly offensive to the many people around the world who have lost loved ones in the pandemic. How would Scaros feel if his whole family had severe complications, needed hospitalization, and God forbid died of COVID? Who would he high five then? His favorite ex-president, maybe, the one who didn’t want to worry anyone about wearing masks or taking precautions in the very early stages of the pandemic at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives. This is an ongoing pandemic and the very nature of a virus is to mutate as long as it continues circulating. Just as there is a chance the latest variant will be milder, there is also the chance it could be worse. Making light of the situation does not help anyone. Just one recent example to think about is Czech folk singer Hana Horka, 57, who was unvaccinated and intentionally caught the virus in order to get a pass to enter venues requiring proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from COVID-19, but after a few days, she died.
Even those who have recovered face health concerns that are just beginning to be studied, whether it is long COVID or nerve damage or the inflammation having affected the heart and brain, the pandemic is not done with us. I don’t want to hear about high-fives in relation to COVID unless you are the team of scientists who have discovered the cure.
San Francisco, CA
Dear Ms. Perdikopoulos,
You and I may have different thoughts on the pandemic, and it would be arrogant of either of us to declare with absolute certainty that one view is right and the other is wrong. We’re only human, and we simply don’t know.
I am responding, though, because you are monumentally mistaken in concluding that I’m “making light” of the situation.
Nothing in my lifetime has distressed me as much as that the entire planet is living life like frightened squirrels, masked-up and re-inhaling their own stale air, and desperately complying with any bureaucratic edict.
It breaks my heart to see my daughter’s schoolmates running around a soccer field with masks on! But I don’t condemn their parents; they’re doing what they think is best for their children, just like I am for mine. Pointing fingers at those with different views but who desire good outcomes is abominable.
You are correct that some mutants are more severe, but Omicron is not. That’s why we high-fived. We wouldn’t have done so had it been Delta.
In fact, many TNH readers remember my writing about the importance of germ tracking, nutrition, sunshine, and exercise. My family and I spent the better part of two years not only preparing against the virus accordingly, but also avoiding unnecessary high-risk public interactions.
That all changed with Omicron. I considered it a ‘Christmas miracle’ indeed! A way to obtain natural immunity without much suffering at all. And, yes, that’s not true for everyone. But to call people insensitive about that is like blasting them for being happy that their relative is out of ICU because two other patients died that day.
We can all cherry pick statistics and relay incidents of death or long-term health implications of both unvaccinated and vaccinated folks, and we can disagree about which set of scientists and physicians is correct.
I have elderly family members whom I love dearly, some of them not in the best of health, and I’ve been gripped with worry ever since this nightmare began. So, without knowing what’s in my heart, please don’t judge me and conclude I’m “making light” of the most horrific phenomenon I’ve ever had to experience.
Constantinos E. Scaros