Updated: Jan 24
The tragic irony of anti-vaxxers’ misguided interpretation of personal freedom is that it has instead taken away many of our cherished freedoms according to Dover virologist Dr. Walter King. This was printed in the Concord Monitor and Fosters.
This latest Covid-19 omicron outbreak has resulted in widespread Covid fatigue and seriously compromised our ability to control the pandemic. For those who believe that Covid-19 is not a hoax, there are only two ways to control its spread:  a proven prophylactic such as a vaccine or a therapeutic, and  physical measures that lessen the odds that the virus can enter your body - such as a barrier or distance from infected people. To strive for a better outcome, we need to review why we are at this point and the lessons learned. The starting point is the issue of whether people should be free to disregard the scientific recommendations of public health experts: is this the price we all must pay for some minority of people’s misguided concept of personal freedom? A personal freedom that has contributed to the infection of hundreds of thousands more every day with kids hospitalized in record numbers, created further job shortages in all industries, exacerbated the crises in goods and services, initiated a new inflationary cycle, shuttered thousands more businesses, once again compromised the education of our children, created deadly shortages in hospital beds and services, led to the exit of thousands of critical healthcare providers, added to our national debt, and caused a surge in those seeking mental health care.
The tragic irony of this misguided interpretation of personal freedom is that it has instead taken away many of our cherished freedoms with no end in sight. With billions of people in the world unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, the virus continues to mutate in these reservoirs, posing a threat to those who are protected. With more infectious variants resulting from this mutation process, it may be only a matter of time before more lethal and infectious variants arise. While some in the minority will not admit it, most, if not all of us have benefited from the advances in medical diagnosis and treatment. To the naysayers, I must ask the question: to what end? How does this disregard of the scientific method lead to a future where we all can live freely in a safe and prosperous country?
About the author:
Walter is a retired research and development executive who worked at several leading global healthcare companies including GE Healthcare, Whatman and Abbott Diagnostics. He developed FDA-cleared products for several cancer and prenatal genetic diseases as well as infectious diseases. He is an emeritus member of the American Association for Cancer Research. He completed his college and graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago respectively and completed his postdoctoral studies at the Columbia University Medical Center. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Health Care Voices of New Hampshire and the City of Dover Energy Commission. He chairs Strafford County Democrats, is a member of Dover Democrats and serves on its Executive Committee.