The Jersey Red Tide

19 Feb

Coming To a Place Near You?

Some of you may know that I live in New Jersey but did you know that I live in one of the most deadly counties in the world? And it’s at the beach…well, mostly…and it’s the home of the deadly Red Tide! The Red Covid Tide that is…

You see, I live in Ocean County, NJ., one of the most Republican counties in all of New Jersey. In the 37 years that I have lived here I have seen only 3 people elected to serve as either mayor or on the town council in my town…and none of them were re-elected. And that’s true for just about all of the towns around me.

And why is that so important? Well, even though we are a mixture of semi-urban towns and beach towns and we have an average per capita income higher than the national average, we have one of the highest unvaccinated Covid rates in the Northeast. Only 53% of our residents have received at least 2 of the recommended Covid-19 vaccine doses with only 26% receiving the booster shot.

And what is it that explains the vaccine skepticism of Ocean County residents? It’s Politics mostly. Because our county is heavily Republican (President Trump won it by almost 30 percentage points in 2020) and most Republicans, just don’t believe in vaccines (anymore). And besides beach towns and exurban towns we here in O.C. are also the land of Senior Citizen “villages” and those of us who are older than 65 are the most vulnerable to severe Covid illness and death. (Senior C’s account for about 75% of all Covid deaths in the U.S.) So put that all together: Republicans, senior citizens, loss of faith in vaccines…and you’ve got a Covid-19 playground.

But who cares? Right? It’s a free country isn’t it?  However, the large number of unvaccinated residents in Ocean County has led to what some might categorize as a horrific amount of Covid illness and death. Nearly one out of every 200 residents has died from the virus. That is worse than the toll in Mississippi… the U.S. state with the largest amount of Covid deaths per capita! And even worse…it’s the worst death rate than in any Country, except for Peru! Peru? Sorry Peru, but you’re number 2… now. and thusly…Ocean County’s “Red Tide” was born.

And still does anyone care? If we do the math then 1 out of every 200 residents divided into about 618,000 county residents is only 3,090 people. Is that a lot? If 75% of those people are senior citizens… tucked away neatly in their senior villages…(self segregated by choice) then 2,317 of those folks were over the age of 65… and they were on deaths door anyway right? So how many noticed?

I’m sure that their children and grand children noticed but not many else. Hardly anyone is out and about wearing a mask these days and it seems as though every week, parents are assailing the school board about when mask mandates will be ended and Covid restrictions lifted. And what about sports? We must have regular crowded gyms and fields filled with sports and sports fans! And bars and restaurants and malls! It’s important that Americans get back to their way of life, and death, vaccinated or un.

I’m always amazed about how when the topic of Covid comes up in a conversation, someone will always ask, usually in a very condescending and smug way, “Do you know anyone who has died of Covid?!” As though that is the crucial bench mark of a disease. If you don’t personally know anyone who has died from it then it can’t be a thing can it? So why make such a fuss?

As many people have died from the Covid-19 virus and its variants in the past 2 years as have died from Cancer and Heart Disease. And those are the 2 leading killers of Americans year after year after year for quite a few years now (probably for as long as everyone alive today has been alive) and so everyone by now knows someone who has died from those deadly diseases…and so we fear them and don’t want to get them and try to avoid them don’t we? But Covid? This new kid on the block is a sissy, right?

Just imagine if Cancer and heart disease were contagious. They’re no more deadly than Covid-19 but would any of us go outside? Ever? And what if there were vaccines that could protect you from Cancer and Heart Disease and your loved ones also? Who would be so cavalier then to go without those vaccinations and proclaim their bodily sanctuary of freedom before their family and friends? And what if wearing a mask could protect others from catching cancer and heart disease from you? Ha! You say! No masks for me! I’m a free human being and you frightened Indians can go scratch for all I care!

And so alas, the Red Tide of free, bold and like thinking Americans sweeps over us all here in Ocean County and from sea to shining sea, unencumbered, until it infects that other “sea” of humanity that will need to become infected and die in such numbers as to make them take notice one day and say, “Hey God, that could happen to me?” For Chrissakes! When is somebody gonna do something about it?”

But until then it’s just a liberal nuisance like I’m sure cancer and heart disease once were. Now they are mainstays and entire businesses and lifestyles are devoted to them. We know how to prevent heart disease but do we? As many of our beloved institutions and practices are devoted to hurting our hearts as are devoted to helping them. (rehabs, health foods, gyms) (bars, fast foods, chips and sodas) And as for cancer? Are we polluting our environments with fewer noxious, poisonous, toxic, virulent and nasty effluents and pollutants than we once were? Hardly, we’ve added more! We’ve just gotten better at providing more treatments, medications and surgeries than we once did in our efforts to combat cancers.

So all in all it’s a win/win! More sickness and disease. More healthcare and hospitals. The real crisis of Covid it seems has been the lack of hospital space to make this disease cost effective… not the tremendous loss of life. After all what’s 900,000 souls lost when almost 8 billion souls are still with us here on Earth?

Sounds pretty cold and crass doesn’t it? But hey! Do you know anyone who’s died from Covid?

So take care of yourself and Let the Red Tide roll on?

2 Responses to “The Jersey Red Tide”

  1. Bridgette February 19, 2022 at 4:41 pm #

    My grandmother died of Covid and I often get so mad about people’s selfish behavior. I live in a suburb in CA and yesterday parents were protesting in front of my son’s school to “Free our Children” and “Stop the muzzle” and I wanted to flip them off. Masks have kept them safe! Ugh, all this to say…yes. I feel you.

  2. bruce thomas witzel February 20, 2022 at 2:00 am #

    Wev’e got Ottawa under occupation here in Canada with similiar misguided souls. They even had Swaztikas and Condfederate flags, and their main plea was to end all Covid retrictions, claiming it was against their personal rights and freedoms…. I ask, what about these peoples resonsiblities towards the common good? I heard that when one the organizers who had been arrested had stood before a Canadian judge, the man asked about his 1st Ammendment Rights. The judge had to remind him he lived in Canada, not that the USA. A sad state of affairs indeed.

    So many people already with poor health or who are frail and elderly have paid with their lives. OMG…. some of these people are even claimiung to be Christians…. Jesus would weep… or rather, he would have overturned their dinner tables. And reminded them of a parable of two. At least, that’s what I was brought up to believe. An excellent critique of this welf serving madness and delusions that some ofur neighbours seem to be caught up in. Thanks for posting.

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