On August 5, 2021, H. Scott Apley, 45, a recent father of a newborn child, died of Covid 19. Apley was a city counsel member for a small city in Galveston County, Texas. Days before getting sick, Apley posted on Facebook that the Pfizer vaccine "was the enemy of the people" and he posted about his support for "mask burning parties."
Apley's death is a tragedy, like all preventable covid19 deaths are. Preventable, because a vaccine a few months ago would have likely saved Apley's life and allowed him to raise his child. Instead, Apley bought into the right-wing-Q-Anon-Don't-Tread-On-Me conspiracy theories. It feels good to ignore science and take a stand against all the smug, government scientists. In a time when we need more of them, the profession of "government-scientist" is probably and perversely viewed with great suspicion by more than 50% of the American public; worse than used car salesmen, or lawyers. The term "government-scientist" for the right, religious right, and nutso-right, conjures visions of Hilary Clinton-pizza eating-pedophile loving bureaucrats plotting to control Americans by injecting their bodies with foreign substances, rather than public health servants who have trained their whole life for this emergency.
The H. Scott Apleys of the world feed the Fox-News-my body-my choice- anti-vaccine-masks-don't-work- propaganda. Trump and De Santis insinuate that it is a perfectly acceptable decision to not be vaccinated. They have turned a health decision into a political decision. But make no mistake, they are both vaccinated. They are using a crisis for political gain, pure and simple, regardless of how many H. Scott Apley's die in the process. Quick- two people are in the room- one is wearing an Obama Button and one is wearing a Trump button, if your life depended on picking the person not vaccinated, whom would you choose?
The problem is that this is and is not about individual rights. The right, as always, misunderstands the concepts of rights. The government has the right to regulate the health of citizens. It can and does outlaw smoking on elevators, airplanes, and indoor work places to protect the rights and health of non-smokers. The government can and does require school children be vaccinated for polio and other childhood diseases to protect other children.
It is against the law to use violence against Rumpole for no reason. You cannot stab, shoot, bomb, immolate, poison, or otherwise harm us unless it is in self defense. Individual rights protect the safety of the individual from others.
If H. Scott Apley wanted to risk his life so that his child would be raised without a father, he had every right to do so without harming us. If every morning he desired to go to his garage and play Russian Roulette with a firearm with one bullet in it, it was his right to do so. But when he endangers the rest of us, which he did by not being vaccinated and encouraging others not to be vaccinated and wear masks, his rights end. He was not allowed to randomly shoot bullets down the street, he was not allowed to smoke on airplanes, and he should not have been allowed to remain unvaccinated because had he survived with a mild case of Covid, he could have carried a new and deadlier strain of covid that could have killed others.
Which brings us to the Lambda variant. Two mutations in the Lambda variant- T761 and L452Q are now more infectious than the covid virus that swept through the world in 2020. Lambda is, according to the World Health Organization, now in 29 countries. It accounts for 81% of the infections in Peru.
And now, for your consideration over a nice and restful weekend- consider this: Research by a team from the University of Tokyo this week (which has NOT been peer reviewed yet) have found three mutations in the Lambda spike protein that helps it resist protection provided by vaccine induced antibodies. Chew on that.
"Lambda can be a potential threat to human society" said senior researcher Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo to the Reuters news organization.
Sleep well on that one dear readers.