“First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff.”
Sad to say, that 2005 account from USA Today reflects not only the behavior of woolly creatures but also those we assume capable of knowing a water hazard from a fairway.
But then we elect people like Ron Johnson – and Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Marjorie Taylor Greene – people fit only to lead followers off a precipice.
Johnson, the senator from Wisconsin, has, like too many Republican leaders chosen the path of ignorance in the face of a pandemic that continues to kill and hospitalize.
Johnson, who has had COVID-19, has questioned the need for mass vaccination, assuming, I guess, that somehow the virus will burn itself out.
He's eschewed the vaccine, saying that having had the virus makes him immune, and the numbers of Americans who have had and recovered it so far negate the need for mass vaccination.
Ah, but Senator, the CDC says don’t bank on immunity from contracted COVID-19, either in its effectiveness or in its longevity.
Last December the previous occupant of the White House was spouting nonsense like this.
“You develop immunity over a period of time, and I hear we’re close to 15 percent. I’m hearing that, and that is terrific. That’s a powerful vaccine in itself.”
In terms of dealing with a pandemic, this ranks with Clorox spritzers.
“I hear” – favorite words of that one-time, one-term president — words typical of knowledge that is nothing.
People like Sen. Johnson cannot be prevented from speaking, but we all could hope for the scientific breakthrough by which, when an elected leader tells a whopper, he gets a mackerel across the kisser.
Anyone who talks about herd immunity at the expense of vaccination should get a wet one until further notice.
Fifteen percent. Those who know something about epidemiology say the notion is not relevant until we exceed 60 percent immunity, although the threshold could be as high as 80 percent.
Until then, vaccinations are the answer, most likely with booster shots required in a year. The virus won't vanish, nor can it be wished away.
For Johnson to act as if he is done with the illness is pure idiocy, which is looking like the chief means of getting nominated as a Republican in 2021.
One of the key resources in understanding the pandemic is a forecasting model by independent data scientist Youyang Gu. Until recently it was called “Path to Herd Immunity.” Recently, however, Gu changed the name to “Path to Normality.”
He said that herd immunity may be unattainable because of several factors, headed by reluctance to be vaccinated.
In other words, the ignorance of the very people who talk up herd immunity as our salvation are the reason it may never come to pass with this virus.
As with COVID-19, the rampant speculation bred by the political and media leaders on the right is a virus unto itself.
From what we know after a year of this pandemic, “herd immunity” at this stage is nothing more than wishful thinking minus the thought.
I recently heard a radio voice say that he’d like to see someone other than Anthony Fauci, someone “without the baggage,” lead the nation’s pandemic response.
The only “baggage” Fauci has is that weighted on him by the previous clown squad that second-guessed and otherwise made his job so untenable.
As of this writing we have lost 571,000 Americans to this illness. How many followed a leader like Ron Johnson right off the cliff?
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.