An infectious mindset

To the Editor: In response to Mark Hastings’ letter to the editor on January 7, thanks for his invaluable frontline public health service as a nurse. All health care workers deserve praise for saving lives every day. I disagree with some of Hastings’ statements — COVID vaccines’ purpose is to minimize hospitalization and death, not stop people from getting COVID. That is the job of masks, social distancing, hand washing and each person’s common sense in protecting their family, friends and fellow human beings.

COVID is a common enemy for all of us and we need to be fighting it together. If we do not vaccinate, more variants will emerge and kill more people. Unfortunately, due to the constant attacks on not only science, public health experts and credible news outlets, but rationality, empathy and unity as well by some politicians, talking heads and alternative news outlets (we all know who they are), fighting COVID has become a partisan political football.

Vaccines and masks are evil; people should be able to do whatever they want whenever they want regardless of the consequences for anyone else. No one should ever be able to tell me what to do even if I am ignorant and do not care about learning anything new. That is the mindset that has us where we are: in the third year of a pandemic having lost 832,000 people. We could have stopped this much earlier if we had fought together vs the common enemy instead of against each other.

GARY BARNES

Rochester