Politics - News Analysis

Tennessee Anti-Masker BEGS People to Get Vaccinated: He Just Spent 8 Months Battling Covid

We saw the figure today, 616,000 dead from COVID. We remember back in the halcyon days of early 2020 when we heard that “up to” 240,000 could die from the disease, it was hard to believe. Of course, those predictions were made at a time when the CDC had every reason to believe that the country could act like adults and approach the matter responsibly.

The number 616,000 is the most important number, the deaths cause the most pain to families, but it does not include all the victims. For every one of those people that died, at least three to five spent time in the ICU on a ventilator. Even more spent time in the hospital on large amount of supplemental oxygen. More stayed at home feeling like someone dropped a weight room on their chest. Many ended up with scarred lungs and hearts. Cardiovascular specialists have no idea what to tell these people. Do they have shorter life expectancies, sure would seem like it, but no one knows. Will it be an annual problem when they get the flu? Maybe.  What about the ones with recurrent depression? And what about the people that have lost their sense of taste and smell, perhaps for good? Imagine life facing the loss of those senses. Better than the loss of life but…

There are far more victims than 616,000.

According to the Washington Post, a former anti-masker Tennessee lawmaker is one of the most strident supporters of the vaccine, he was and remains one of the long haulers:

A Tennessee legislator who went from unmasked gatherings with fellow legislators to being placed on ventilator days later has emerged with a message for constituents after a harrowing eight-month experience with long-haul covid-19:

“It is a disease that wants to kill us,” state Rep. David Byrd (R) said in a statement Friday. Byrd, 63, described an ordeal that included 55 days on a ventilator in which covid-19 ravaged his memory, his muscles and his organs — it led to him having a liver transplant in June; his condition was so grave that his family at least once began planning for his funeral. Stressing that covid-19 is real and “very dangerous,” Byrd encouraged people to get vaccinated.

Funny how so many Republicans talk about my freedom, my choice, and the vaccine is dangerous, but the ones that have had COVID are never among them. Not ha ha funny, but, strange.

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Byrd is not one of those 616,000. Byrd needed a liver that might have gone to a liver patient that had been waiting, someone without COVID and had, unselfishly, worn a mask. Fifty-Five days in the ICU, a coma and a liver transplant later, he can barely walk? Contracting the disease last Thanksgiving?

That is one long haul.

And he is not one of the 616,000. There are many many more out there and we don’t hear enough of their stories.

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[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiiak

meet the author

Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.

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