By Ruth Gadebusch
How did science get to be held in such low esteem in this nation? I’m not referring to someone on the street with little or no opportunity to be exposed to science as believers but to those who should know better. We have members of Congress refusing to accept fully proven scientific matters on two of the most serious issues currently facing us: Covid-19 and climate change.
Nor does it seem to matter that one is of immediate effect and the other long term. One has the possibility of prevention in the present while we have already wasted significant time in addressing the other.
Humankind obviously has difficulty protecting the future by sacrificing in the present as called for in climate change mitigation. But denying the presence, the seriousness, the stress, even on the healthy, as well as the total disarray of society as a whole caused by the coronavirus is simply beyond imagination, beyond comprehension and beyond common sense self-preservation.
Perhaps worst of all is the lack of compassion for one’s fellow humans because, like other contagious diseases, the damage is often done before one realizes s/he is endangering others.
Actually, long-term effects are not limited to climate change, Covid isn’t just over and done with even for those who survive. It can leave serious long-term disabilities in its wake. Does anyone need to be reminded of the death rate in this nation, which has far better medical care than many others, with the current renewed rising due to the Delta variant?
There are those who remember the loss of loved ones in the flu pandemic just more than a century ago when there was no treatment. I clearly remember the fear of polio every summer. As an adult, I had occasion to visit a victim who spent many years in an “iron lung,” hardly a joyful sight. Oh, how we welcomed first one polio treatment, then another. My first volunteer job after moving to Fresno was joining the PTA at Gibson School in handing out those sugar cubes.
Another personal note: Each of my parents had a deceased sister named Ruth, hence my name. One died in the flu pandemic and the other of diphtheria. Few families escaped. There was no question of our lining up when those vaccines, along with typhoid shots and smallpox vaccinations, were given at school to all. Whooping cough prevention was welcomed later. When did any of us last know of losing any child in this nation to those scourges?
Probably the only noble action done by our immediate past president was rushing efforts to develop a vaccination for the Covid-19 virus.
Some ignorants refuse the vaccination because it has not had final approval, but when they get Covid they do not refuse treatment drugs likewise not having final approval.
In smallpox vaccinations, we have certainly seen the value of herd immunity proving that scientific theory.
Now there are those who refuse to get vaccinated or even to wear a mask. Difficult to understand. It is difficult for me to comprehend the resistance.
We have parents in a local community long heralded for its educated populace and above-average performance school district complaining about children being asked to wear masks. Of course, some of these same parents eschew vaccinations for Covid-19, currently a plague on the world. Folks, this protection is valid science both for you and the entire community.
It is science that has given us many of the things that enhance our daily lives. We never question how we got them. We don’t even think of them as science, but they did not just appear as magic. Someone had an idea and worked on it.
Gravity was once doubted. Germs and bacteria of any sort had to be proved, and we now accept the existence. How much proof do we need?
Unfortunately, science can also develop weapons of war and other things that don’t serve us well, so we must be discerning but it is time to quit doubting the value of masks and vaccinations. It is not political. There is no rhyme or reason for this doubt. The science is real. We ignore it at our peril.
Ruth Gadebusch is a community activist having served in such organizations as the American Association of University Women, the Women’s Symphony League, the National Women’s Political Caucus and the PTA. A former naval officer, she was elected to the Fresno Unified School Board four times and was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Civic Education.