“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

It appears too many have a misinformed idea about the novel coronavirus — what we have lived with for more than a year now on these shores, most well known as COVID-19.

Everyone — myself certainly included — wants this crap to be over, or at least under control.

I’ve learned it’s not hard at all to wear a mask — particularly on cold, windy, cloudy Oklahoma days — to socially distance and to wash my hands.

I don’t want to get COVID nor do I want to spread it if I happen to catch it.

It is fatal for some, for others it can be debilitating and keep them from work for weeks and months. Not ideal for anyone — not ideal for the economy.

I’m three weeks removed from my second Pfizer inoculation and feeling fine. My arm hurt a day, and I felt a little off. That was it.

The three different emergency vaccinations that have been approved by the FDA are designed to mitigate symptoms of the virus and jack up our immune systems to fight it off, much like we eventually do the flu or a stomach bug.

COVID-19 is not any of those.

Some people have the misguided — or maybe it’s just a pie-in-the-sky naiveté — that all these vaccines coming out will cure COVID-19. The vaccines are not designed for that, nor are they going to eradicate COVID.

Now, our three current vaccines may, down the road, hopefully keep COVID-19 from hitting us again and attacking our health and economy. Vaccinations are designed to help people fight it off, and to give the novel virus fewer and fewer bodies in which to infect, and in which to continue its spread.

With any virus, it’s a numbers game.

Now COVID-19 will never, ever be compared to smallpox. Smallpox, over the history of the world, has killed far more people than any other disease — 300 million in the 20th century alone.

In fact, when it was introduced in the Americas by explorers from countries like Spain, France and England, it infected Native American peoples so rapidly and in such a deadly manner that as many as 90% of early Indians died from the disease.

They had no immunity to it — period.

Now I doubt Europeans wanted to spread smallpox to Native Americans. They didn’t know it would kill off native populations so readily.

So how long did it take the world’s greatest scientific/medical minds to develop a vaccine to stop smallpox in its tracks?

Well, only 184 years.

Yes, that’s right — 184 years to eradicate that horrible disease.

We are all bellyaching and complaining, with some defying logic by claiming their rights are being trampled for wearing masks and socially distancing — and we’ve only had it here in the United States a little more than one year.

Smallpox had been around for more than 3,000 years. I said “had” because smallpox is gone.

That it took 184 years to find a cure shouldn’t be all that surprising.

I mean, disease kills — and has killed — far, far more people than anything mankind has done to itself, in the form of hundreds of wars and eradications of perceived enemies and peoples.

You see, smallpox killed 30% of the people it infected. Nearly 1 in 3 who contracted smallpox died from it. And it took 3,000 years of enduring it.

The initial symptoms of smallpox included high fever, fatigue, headache and backache. Then, after 2 to 3 days of the illness, a flat, red rash appeared on the person afflicted. It then spread over the face and upper arms and all over the body. Pustules formed, then scabbed over and fell off, leaving noticeable scars.

Remember chicken pox? Somewhat similar but smallpox is far worse, far more sinister.

Smallpox was highly contagious, and it killed, as scientists discovered, by crippling a person’s immune system, attacking molecules made by the body to block viral replication.

It killed and scarred people the world over for three millennia.

If we really and truly want to get a handle on COVID-19, we will stay with wearing masks, socially distance within reason, wash our hands and get vaccinated.

Of course, there’s the problem of rampant social media misinformation. Future historians are going to look back and say of us, “That was a pretty easy thing for them to do — so how come it was so hard for some of them to do?”

Maybe anti-vaxxers can answer that question.

I’m quite certain disinformation about getting vaccinated, along with not following common-sense steps to contain COVID-19, can kill or ruin a person’s health as quickly as anything — a damning indictment of today’s society.

Or, maybe future historians will just write that society in the United States in 2020 and 2021 inevitably began to go downhill, because some people weren’t able to do simple things to keep themselves from getting sick and dying — helping push the country into a slow spiral of economic mediocrity.

So, get vaccinated.

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Christy is news editor in charge of the layout desk and a columnist for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for David? Send an email to davidc@enidnews.com.

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