There is a Much Bigger Picture Including Covid

December 16, 2021

A letter was published in our local paper yesterday that made the usual arguments in favor of Covid vaccine mandates, and masking in a rude, inflammatory tone: I started to respond, and then changed my mind. Here is what I wrote instead:


Wednesday, December 15, 2021
To the Editor:

I began a reply to a recent letter in the Cape Gazette that discussed Covid masks and vaccines. But as I wrote, I realized that the polarized discussions surrounding us today feel exceptionally limiting, considering the vast challenges in front of us all.

It is easy to fall for the idea that Covid is the one risk above all others that should worry us - and wouldn’t it be nice if a little jab in the arm (or three) (or four!) could get us out of this mess? But Covid is most dangerous to us when our collective health has deteriorated, and no vaccine in the world has ever been able to pull a civilization out of such Unwellness that we currently face.

Our children’s generation is predicted to live shorter lives than we will, a first in the industrialized world. The mess began long before Covid, and may continue even and until the next coronavirus, or flu pandemic, or as yet unknown infectious Threat, appears. Meanwhile, chronic illnesses - which happen to greatly increase a person’s risk of death from Covid - are already decreasing quality of life and causing early deaths for millions of Americans:

Cancer is on the rise, last year estimated to have killed 606,520 Americans.

Heart Disease is also increasing, with 655,000 Americans dying from it per year.

Kidney failure affects almost 750,000 people per year in the United States, disproportionately minority and low-income patients. (Compared to whites: African Americans are 3.5 times more likely to have kidney failure.)

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2017 based on the 83,564 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause. (In 2017, diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 270,702 certificates. Diabetes is likely underreported.)

Nearly half - approximately 45%, or 133 million - of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease (including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases, arthritis, obesity, and oral diseases), and these are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. That is 1.7 million Americans dying each year, while more than 75% of the $2 trillion spent on public and private healthcare in 2005 went toward chronic diseases.…

Many of us rely on medications that in some cases cause as many symptoms as they address. Mold in our buildings, toxic compounds used in cleaning supplies, dirty HVAC systems - all of these pollute our indoor air. Nutrient-deficient foods, ultra processed and containing added sugars, unhealthy fats, trace levels of pesticides and herbicides and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that should never be there at all, combined with synthetic additives designed to make us addicted, sit on the shelves at our supermarkets, labeled as “food”. Our air and water and soil and now even the social and other media on which we increasingly depend, are polluted and threatening our health.

It’s hard to remember all of this when most of our politicians seem busy inciting our fear and anger, and pitting us against each other.

I think we’re going to need to cultivate cooperation, respect, and a willingness to work really hard for ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors to help reverse some serious “overdraws” on our collective health. Big Pharma, Big Tech, and Big Politics don’t seem to want to take it on, so the revolution begins at home. Let’s take back our health - our birthright - while leaving the squabbling politicians and CEOs (not to mention their medical mandates and “vaccine” passports) in our dust.

Sarabeth Matilsky