It’s worth it, they say

I don’t work in health care, but as an Uber and Lyft driver, I transport a lot of health care workers to and from their jobs. We generally don’t talk much but I’ve heard a fury about the widespread refusal to wear masks or socially distance:

  1. Essentially what I found on Twitter this morning:
  2. Health care workers face a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 than just about anyone else and cannot socially distance from their patients. Refusing to wear a mask is, for them, a “fuck you” to every health care worker.
  3. Some patients claim they thought COVID-19 is a hoax. (I think they merely but vociferously wanted to believe it was a hoax.[1]) For health care workers, this is tantamount to calling them (the workers) liars.

I also, not very often, but occasionally, speak to people who’ve lost relatives or friends to COVID-19. Trumpsters and others who deny that the disease is real are also effectively calling the bereaved liars. But we’ve already seen the Trumpster response (figure 2):


Fig. 2. Photograph by author, August 25, 2020.

And I still occasionally transport people to go drinking and do other stupid shit (this is what Pittsburgh’s South Side is for). You know, quick, before “they” impose another lockdown. After all, “it’s worth it,” as one young man said to his friends in my back seat.

There’s no rational answer that can be offered here. People who advance their own interests at the expense of others are psychopaths or, at least, sociopaths.[2] They don’t care about other people, the people who’ve lost loved ones, the people who’re putting their lives on the line to treat the sick. What matters to them is their own immediate self-gratification.

As we go through a a surge of COVID-19 cases,[3] I don’t know how you argue that these people aren’t a danger to themselves and others. I don’t know how you argue that they shouldn’t all be swept up and locked up in psychiatric wards.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble,’” Not Housebroken, October 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/07/doubting-the-fox-news-bubble/
  2. [2]Kara Mayer Robinson, “Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?” WebMD, 2014, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference
  3. [3]Lenny Bernstein, “With hospitals slammed by covid-19, doctors and nurses plead for action by governors,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/doctors-demand-covid-restrictions/2020/12/03/88c1afc6-34e1-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html; Antonia Noori Farzan et al. “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July,” Washington Post, October 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/16/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html; Karen Kaplan, “U.S. deaths are about 300,000 higher than expected since the coronavirus arrived,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-20/excess-deaths-in-united-states-since-coronavirus-arrived; Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/; Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754; Derek Thompson, “The COVID-19 Fall Surge Is Here. We Can Stop It,” Atlantic, October 12, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/how-keep-fall-surge-becoming-winter-catastrophe/616674/; William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/

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