The misinformation and conspiracy theories about covid-19 that, unfortunately, are rampant in American society not only cause confusion, tension and increased risks of suffering from the disease. In certain cases, these distortions tragically lead to some people not understanding the terrible severity of the pandemic until it is too late.
An example of this is the heartbreaking message that Dr. Brytney Cobia, who works at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, shared on her Facebook page.
In that hospital, she has been treating healthy young people who, after contracting COVID-19, face very serious consequences. All this in the context of populations with low vaccination rates while the pandemic rages with more contagious and aggressive variants of the coronavirus, especially the Delta, which has caused a new increase in cases and hospitalizations, the vast majority among unvaccinated people.
Cobia commented on Facebook that while it has made “a lot of progress recently in motivating people to get vaccinated,” the circumstances in which that has happened are especially dire.
To explain this progress, Cobia commented that “he has been admitting young people to the hospital. [antes] healthy with very serious covid infections. One of the last things they do before they are intubated is beg me to vaccinate them. I take their hand and tell them I’m sorry, it’s too late. A few days later, when I declare the moment of death, I hug their family members and tell them that the best way to honor their loved one is to get vaccinated and motivate everyone they meet to get vaccinated ”.
The narrative is easy to read on the Facebook post, but it is fraught with drama and is a bleak testimony to the severity of the pandemic and the fact that, had they been promptly vaccinated, those patients would not have died.
The panorama is doubly painful when Cobia tells what he has seen of the reactions of the relatives of his patients who died from covid-19 after the death of their loved one and when he realized the importance of vaccination.
“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know [la gravedad de la pandemia]. They thought it was a hoax, that it was political. They believed that having a certain blood type or a certain skin color would not make them so sick. They thought it was ‘just a flu’. But they were wrong. They thought they could back down, but that’s impossible. Then they thank me and they are going to get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write the reports of the deaths and make a small prayer that this loss will save more lives ”.
Cobia, thus, raises the harsh reality that, sometimes, only the direct verification of the death by covid-19 of a loved one, which could have been prevented if the person had been vaccinated, motivates their family members to get vaccinated.
That should not be the case, since much of the reluctance or rejection of the vaccine in the United States has to do with the rise of conspiracy theories, misinformation, distortions and lies. Although the vaccine certainly has very low risks, it provides substantial protection against disease and death from covid-19 and is the key tool to protect individual and public health and to be able to put a stop to the pandemic.
Thus, Cobia sends the message that you should not wait until it is too late to get vaccinated. The vaccine saves lives and it is imperative that the population receive it as soon as possible and with the maximum extent possible. If people are afraid, they can consult their doctor to decide which way to go.
Although not with the terrible toll of death, Cobia herself directly experienced the hit of covid-19.
Last summer, when she was pregnant, she suffered a mild case of covid-19, with a cough, headache and other symptoms. At first he thought they were allergies and spent a few days with his relatives. Although they maintained social distance and used disinfectants continuously, none used a mask. Eight of them were infected.
“The fear I felt for myself and my unborn baby was bad enough, but the guilt I felt for exposing people who trusted me is what I want to focus on,” Cobia said in a Facebook post in July 2020 In it he called for the use of masks as an indispensable measure against covid-19.
Now, a year later, with vaccines widely available, she calls on everyone to get vaccinated and thereby avoid totally preventable hospitalizations and deaths.