Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, one of the dumbest things I’ve heard people say to talk about death risks is, ‘Everybody dies.’
Yes, everybody dies. There is a 100% chance that you, no matter when you read this, will die at some point in the future. While we can depend on few certainties in life, on this we can depend.
It’s as simple as that.
When one brings up the death toll from the pandemic â€” it’s more than 11,000 in my little state alone â€” some denier will spout it off: “Everybody dies.”
People who have been urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 have said it in protest. “Everybody dies.” Even billionaire Elon Musk uttered the phrase when someone asked him about not his not getting the vaccine.
Oddly enough, he claimed this time last year that neither he nor his kids were at risk for COVID-19. He did say anyone who was at risk should stay home and quarantine. But that, he claimed on a podcast, apparently didn’t apply to him.
But then a curious thing happened. Last November, Musk himself tested positive for COVID-19. Maybe he mistakenly believed that the virus that causes COVID-19 might check your bank account before deciding to infect you. Perhaps Musk isn’t quite the epidemiological expert he fancies himself to be. Or, maybe the fact that so many have been slow to get vaccinated has allowed the virus time to mutate into a more spreadable version like the Delta variant.
It could be a combination of those.
But by April, he chose to change his tune, saying on Twitter, “I do support vaccines in general and covid vaccines specifically. The science is unequivocal.”
That’s quite a change, isn’t it?
I hope the many he might have influenced to skip the vaccine have taken his flip-flop just as seriously. But many probably haven’t. Because, you know, everybody dies.
Many who claim ‘everybody dies’ hope you forgot the big lie
A dozen years ago, some of the same folks arguing against precautions against COVID-19 were waging another health-based war. I suspect some of them hope you don’t remember. But I remember exactly what fired up a bunch of them way back then.
Picture it yourself. It was 2009. A debate rose up about federal healthcare legislation to cover uninsured Americans.
Enter Sarah Palin. Before Donald Trump came along, it was Palin a lot of the ultra-conservatives felt could do no wrong.
She stepped up to the microphone and said what PolitiFact would later call 2009’s “Lie of the Year.”
That, friends, was the moment she started talking about “death panels.” Palin tried to argue Democrats intended to set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care. Her supporters â€” many of the same people who refuse to consider any safeguards against COVID-19 â€” were appalled by such an idea. They recoiled at the thought that some people might not be considered worthy of healthcare.
Everyone deserved health coverage. How dare anyone be flippant about the sanctity of life? How dare anyone not do everything in their power to protect the health and wellbeing of others?
They essentially accused the other side of setting up panels with the attitude, “Everybody dies” so they could deny care to those deemed not worth changing.
The difference back then, of course, is that their target back then was the imagined enemy that didn’t really exist. There are some â€” too many â€” who still seem to think COVID-19 is an imagined enemy. They praise former President Donald Trump, who also contracted COVID, for fast-tracking the vaccine. Yet while they praise him, they fail to acknowledge that if the vaccine is fake, Trump and all his bragging about it must be fake, too.
Back then, they claimed the very idea that anyone would think of a fellow human being’s failing health with the answer, “Everybody dies” was disgusting.
Today, because putting on a mask or getting a vaccine the FDA has now approved inconveniences them, it’s suddenly okay to think of others that way.
Yes, everbody does die.
Sooner or later, I will. You will. Every single human being who is on Earth right this second will, in fact, die.
But that doesn’t mean it’s wise to take unnecessary risks or to skip important steps to protect your health.
There are plenty of people who are well aware of their own mortality. They know they will die one day.
Most of us hope that day won’t come for a long, long time. I even know Christian friends who are certain beyond any doubt that when their time comes, they will go to Heaven. That does not mean they hope that glorious day will happen tomorrow.
We visit the doctor to make sure we’re healthy.
When we get into our cars, we wear seatbelts to protect us in an accident.
We observe traffic signals and speed limits to reduce the chance we’ll be involved in an accident.
Before we go to bed at night, make sure our windows and doors are locked to protect us from prowlers.
We make sure we’re aware of our surroundings to protect our safety when we are alone at night.
Some of us even purchase handguns or other weapons to protect ourselves from those who might harm us.
Every single day, we take precautions without even thinking about them. That’s because, although everybody dies, we don’t want to be the next one to visit St. Peter.
So I wonder why more people can’t drop that foolish phrase, take the pandemic seriously, and work together to actually stop COVID in its tracks.
It shouldn’t take someone seeing someone close to them test positive. Unfortunately, all too often, it seems to.