By Ryan Cooper, The Week
Nine months after several highly effective coronavirus vaccines started to become available in America, and three to five months after they became available in pharmacies across the country, the pandemic is now as bad as it’s ever been in many states. In Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina, daily hospitalizations and deaths are at or near the March 2020 peak, while in Florida the previous records have been far surpassed.
At the same time, conservative elites are doing their level best to spread the virus as much as possible, even as COVID-19 is killing conservatives by the thousands. It’s willful, malign negligence on a mind-boggling scale.
I can barely keep up with the number of minor conservative figures who have died of COVID after refusing to take the vaccine. The radio host Phil Valentine is dead after having mocked the vaccine, and so is Newsmax host Dick Farell. The same is true of Texas Republican official Scott Apley. South Carolina party official Pressley Stutts continued to post anti-vaccine conspiracy theories from his COVID ICU bed until he died. And among the voting base, it’s total carnage.
Yet Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still in a ferocious dispute with his state’s school districts about mask mandates, as his state’s pediatric ICU beds are swamped. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an (almost certainly unconstitutional) order banning any institution receiving public funds from requiring vaccines. South Dakota recently held the Sturgis motorcycle rally again with the furious support of Gov. Kristi Noem — despite the fact that the state is trailing in vaccination and last year the rally created a pandemic charnel house. Unsurprisingly, cases there are once again shooting through the roof.