Preserve freedoms, stop the spread of COVID
To the editor:
The events in Afghanistan on Aug. 26 highlight the true costs of freedom. God bless all those servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives so that so many can be free. And God bless and protect all those who continue to make sacrifices so that we have the right to make choices for ourselves and our families. Freedom and the individual’s right to choose is a fundamental right associated with American society as long as the individual choices we make do not negatively impact the health and safety and fundamental freedoms of others.
The SARS CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) requires a host to survive, and in a host, the virus can reproduce or replicate exponentially. The evidence indicates that the more severe the infection, the more the virus replicates at an increasing rate estimated between 1 billion to 100 billion times. Every time the virus replicates, there is a chance it can mutate into a variant that could be more transmissible and more deadly than the previous variant. Scientists have determined that a mutation can establish itself in the population approximately every 11 days. Since 2019, thousands of SARS CoV-2 variants have been identified, with three currently more transmissible and deadly than the previous variants. For example, the Delta variant now appears to be more infectious and deadly than the earlier variants, especially for children. Scientists now fear that we run the risk of a future variant more transmissible and deadly and a variant that could also evade the protections afforded by the current vaccines.
Today in Florida, the virus is replicating and mutating because we have so many people seriously infected by the virus. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director stated, we now have a pandemic among the unvaccinated. The overwhelming body of evidence is clear: the SARS CoV-2 vaccines reduce the risk of being infected with the virus. The evidence is also clear that the small percentage of vaccinated people who might get the disease (breakthrough cases) generally have less severe infections for shorter periods, which means the virus has less chance to replicate.
The bottom line is that vaccines do reduce the replication of the virus, thereby reducing the risk of the virus mutating to a variant that could be more transmissible, more deadly to all of us, and that could evade the protections afforded by the current vaccines. Please consider that exercising your right to choose not to get vaccinated against SARS CoV-2 could now be risking the safety, health and wellbeing of the young and old and their individual rights and freedoms.
John L. Henshaw